First of all, what is 360 degree feedback? 360 degree feedback is a one-of-a-kind development tool that allows an individual to receive influential feedback from peers, coworkers, managers, and anyone else who works closely with them.
Imagine looking in a mirror. What does the mirror help you do?
- The mirror helps you to see what you cannot see on your own.
- You want to know what others will see when they encounter you.
- You want to know if something is amiss, so you can fix it.
- You want to be the best self that you that you can be.
360 degree feedback is your workplace mirror. It allows you to see characteristics, attributes, and behaviors that you might not be able to perceive on your own. You understand what others think of you. You can easily identify if something is wrong, or not up to your personal standard of performance, and rectify it. In short, by taking into account the feedback of the people you work with and making goals to improve, you can become your best self.
When 360 degree feedback is targeted to improve performance or leadership, it provides insights to the individual that assists in development and growth. 360 degree feedback is designed to highlight strengths as well as opportunities for development. Using an established strength to lead change in a weaker area is more effective than merely focusing on a weakness. The saying “play to your strengths” rings true in the workplace as we strive to create a high-performing, highly-efficient organization.
As we become more comfortable considering the mirrors shown to us by our peers, supervisor, direct reports, and others, we gain confidence in using feedback as a tool. As confidence grows, we naturally begin to ask for feedback rather than soliciting it from an outside tool. Feedback becomes a great way to chart progress on selected goals. Just as no one changes lanes on the freeway without checking their mirrors first, we should learn to check our personal mirrors before we strive to make changes as leaders in our organizations. We must learn to value and trust the information given to us and use it to our benefit.
As we get to know ourselves better through feedback mechanisms we start to see the following benefits:
- We become more effective in our communication with others.
- We use more efficient conflict resolution strategies.
- We are more accountable.
- We navigate change more efficiently.
- We create stronger teams.
At first, feedback can be difficult to hear. It is not always easy to have people close to us say that we are misaligned, misunderstood, or misbehaving. But who doesn’t want to know that they have spinach in their teeth after lunch, or that their clothing is not in order after a visit to the restroom? This is delicate information to give someone and sometimes startling information to receive, but if it is given with the intention to assist rather than harm, then the feedback is good information to have and prevents further problems. Getting to the point of seeing 360 feedback as positive information is not always graceful but can be used as a powerful tool for change.
360 degree feedback does not address spinach-in-the-teeth types of delicate issues. It addresses other issues that may feel delicate in the beginning, like trust, openness, dependability, vision, energy, concern for others, conflict management, problem-solving ability, expertise and teamwork. Feedback points to opportunities. When opportunities are embraced and action is taken, more feedback is solicited and progress is noted. You feel the satisfaction that comes from growing, which then acts as a catalyst to stimulate further growth. During this process, feedback becomes more objective and informational, and less emotional and sensitive. Does it hurt your feelings to see a car in the lane next to you when you check the side-view mirror before changing lanes? No! The car may surprise or startle you, but you are glad you checked your mirror before you moved over. As we get more experience with feedback, we learn to use it rather than personalize it, just as we use our side-view mirrors.
So why 360 degree feedback? It is a mirror that can assist you in seeing above, below, and around you. It is a tool that can accelerate your development as a leader. It is a process that can mature your perspective of yourself and others. It is a way to get out of your own box. It is a refiner’s fire that may burn a little at first but will leave you with a better shine.
Essentially, 360 degree feedback is a way of asking others to tell you what you are doing well and what you can be doing better.
For more information about 360 degree feedback and how these surveys can help you and your company, contact DecisionWise