How to use 360 Degree Feedback for leadership development

How to use 360 Degree Feedback for leadership development

Most people wish they could tell their bosses what they really think about them. The 360-degree assessment was designed with that goal in mind – extracting an honest and insightful look at employees and how they work. A 360 degree feedback is an excellent developmental tool, which provides clear and practical insight into how a person’s self perceptions may differ from the perceptions of others. When used correctly, 360-degree assessments can help managers strengthen their skills, positively impacting the organization.

Managers need to be the drivers in organisations. By being put in these strategic managerial positions, they will be expected to steer the organization, through the people, in a direction which ensures its long-term survival. It is essential that managers are constantly assessed to make sure that the right talent is in the right position.

The 360 Degree Feedback is a system or process in which employees, in this case managers, receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them. This typically includes the employee’s manager, peers, and direct reports. A mixture of about eight to twelve people fill out an anonymous online feedback form that asks questions covering a broad range of workplace competencies. The feedback forms include questions that are measured on a rating scale and also ask raters to provide written comments. The person receiving feedback also fills out a self-rating survey that includes the same survey questions that others receive in their forms.

By carrying out these feedback sessions, the organization is insured and also assured that the managers at its helm are representing what they are meant to be. The managers, on the other hand, through the feedback they get, are able to improve themselves to be more efficient and effective. The greatest value of the feedback is that it helps the employee identify his or her best developmental opportunities – ones that can be pursued with the organization’s full support. For example, they may be put through Leadership Development Programs, or other similar developmental trainings.

A detailed assessment of the leaders will be done covering the following areas: visioning, empowering, energizing, designing and aligning, reward and feedback, team work, outside orientation, global mindset, tenacity, emotional intelligence, life balance, and resilience to stress. These areas are critical drivers of employee engagement. If a manager/ leader lacks any one of these competencies it affects how the leader will lead and more so how those that are led perceive their superior(s).

In addressing skills such as listening, planning and goal-setting, the 360 degree feedback assists in identifying weak areas in managers. A manager without the above skills is a recipe for disaster for any organisation, as they will just lead it down the drain. Their type of management will be haphazard, a ‘lets see where this takes us’ approach that will yield disastrous results. The 360 degree feedback, by identifying these weaknesses, will enable measures to be taken in terms of training.

Areas such as teamwork, character and leadership effectiveness are also crucial in identifying whether or not a manager is in line with the company strategy. A manager has to be able to lead and be part of a team. This way, his subordinates will find it easier to be more effective. The manager’s character is another aspect which is measured by this tool. This will help in making sure that the organisation has in its employ, an individual who is well aligned to the culture of the organisation.

Overall, the feedback from this exercise may be able to shed some light on why a particular organizational issue has been a problem. Or it may help to identify the qualities that are leading to one’s success as a manager. Feedback is not just about correcting one’s weaknesses. More often, it is about how to leverage one’s strengths for greater success in the future.

Memory Nguwi is the Managing Consultant of Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 email: mnguwi@ipcconsultants.com or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

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