A 360 degree survey process is a powerful development tool for organizations and their leaders. With the right mindset and preparation – both for those who will respond to it and those who are going to receive it – a 360 survey can really improve an organization’s leaders and their practices.
Depending on the organization culture, those who are involved in a 360-degree survey process might feel excited or terrified. For the process to be successful, it’s imperative to emphasize that the process is for development and improvement. It’s not a tool to be used to filter out bad leaders.
Prepare your team on how to give and receive effective feedback.
How to give effective feedback:
1. Be clear about why you were chosen to give feedback. If you’re not sure, ask.
2. Discuss actions and behaviors, not personality. Separate personal from professional.
3. Be concise.
4. Be candid. Share observations with the intention of helping your manager or colleague improve.
5. Take the mystery out of the negative. We all have places to improve. Focus on that – emphasize changeable behaviors.
6. Back up information with examples to illustrate your most important points.
7. All feedback is based on what you experience and observe, not others.
8. Make feedback actionable. Provide options/tips on how to address opportunities.
9. Be kind.
How to receive feedback:
1. Stay positive. This is an opportunity. Keep in mind those who are participating have been chosen by senior leaders and HR. Come into this with the assumption that they are trying to be helpful.
2. Pay attention to actions and behaviors discussed. Recognize that we all have faults, and these actions and behaviors and affecting your team, ones that need to be addressed.
3. Don’t get lost in the numbers, graphs, and charts. There will be primary themes that emerge across the data. These are your high points and challenges. Pay attention to those.
4. Don’t dive straight for the negative. Look at the positive data first. This is because it’s human nature to dwell on the negative. This experience reveals your strengths. Recognize those! These, too, are opportunities for improvement. How can you enhance them? Then delve into the areas that need improvement.
5. Is there a big gap between how you feel about yourself as a leader and how others perceive you? Are there gaps between how your senior leaders respond to your colleagues to your direct reports? These gaps are important to identify and analyze.
6. Make action plans. With the help of HR and senior leaders, you need to create plans based on what you all feel are the most important areas to tackle.
7. Listen actively.
Being asked to participate in 360-degree survey is an opportunity to be part of someone’s development – your own or someone else’s. The goal of a 360 survey is to help someone become a better contributor, and that person might be you. This can only be effective if responses are thoughtful, candid, and given from the position to help someone improve. Likewise, receiving this feedback has to be taken from a position of the intention of improving. For that to happen, everyone involved need to see the feedback is an opportunity, not a dump session.