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  • Writer's pictureKate Chaffer

360 feedback: Why it matters, how we do it, what to expect

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Why it matters

As your leadership status grows within your organisation, fewer and fewer people feel comfortable telling you what you’re doing well, let alone giving you critical feedback.

360-degree feedback creates a confidential and comprehensive way for leaders devoid of this vital information to gain insight and perspective.

Unlike standard single-source feedback, 360-degree feedback collects, collates, and analyses comments from peers, reporting staff members, supervisors, and managers.

360-degree feedback builds trust and respect by giving people a safe place to provide honest feedback on your leadership capabilities and performance.

Its many benefits go beyond being a springboard for your personal and professional development. An ethically and empathetically managed assessment process and follow-up can improve team dynamics and peer relationships. It can uncover procedural issues that might otherwise go unnoticed and strengthen your entire culture.

In essence, as this article by Joseph Folkman explains, 360 feedback is a strengths-based tool to help you become a more self-aware, receptive, and authentic leader.

How we do 360 feedback assessments

Delivered skilfully and sensitively, 360-degree feedback is a leadership development catalyst and a great starting point for most leadership development programs and coaching engagements.

We coach leaders in handling the feedback by creating context around gaining behavioural insight, appreciating various perspectives, and focusing on change and growth.

To achieve meaningful and often transformational results, we ensure the entire process - setup, debriefing, and ongoing support is respectful, ethical, confidential, and safe. As our client, you’ll own the feedback and results and decide what to share with your boss, team, and peers.

Our preferred 360 feedback tool is The Leadership Circle Profile (LCP)

Three reasons we prefer The Leadership Circle Profile (LCP)

The Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) reflects and synthesises a diverse body of scientific research.

1. It provides leaders with credible, actionable answers to the question, ‘How do my behaviours and mindset enable or constrain my intended leadership impact and our business performance?’

2. It measures the two primary leadership domains:

  • Creative Competencies - key leadership behaviours and assumptions that underpin how you achieve results, bring out the best in others, lead with vision, enhance your development, act with integrity and courage, and improve organisational systems.

  • Reactive Tendencies - self-limiting leadership styles focused on gaining others’ approval, protecting yourself, and exercising high control to get results. Reactive tendencies include prioritising:

    • caution over creating results

    • self-protection over productive engagement

    • aggression over building alignment.

3. It doesn’t take hours to interpret. LCP’s data reveals itself in seconds. Key strengths and issues surface instantly, so leaders can see what’s working, what is not, and why.

Seven ways 360 feedback supports transformative change

360 feedback and, more specifically, LCP uncovers the relationship between your habitual behaviour and the internal assumptions driving it. Understanding this relationship empowers you to make genuine and profound changes. Here’s how that works.

LCP assessment:

Makes you more aware of how others see you and how your behaviour impacts them

360-degree feedback nudges us away from ‘Naïve Realism.’ That’s a fancy philosophical term for our human tendency to believe we see the world as it is. And to think that everyone else sees what we see.

360-degree feedback exposes you to others’ perceptions about your behaviour. Like most leaders, you’ll probably find that a high percentage of feedback matches your expectations. But there can be a few awkward or even jolting surprises.

Awkward surprises prompt you to reflect on how you act with specific groups or individuals. Knowing how you're perceived is beneficial even if you disagree with the response.

On the other hand, positive surprises - multiple high scores, confirm that your contribution as a leader is widely recognised and appreciated.

Informs a personal development plan

360-degree’s honest and specific feedback tests your perceptions. It also recognises previously overlooked strengths and exposes blind spots. This is invaluable information for creating a leadership development plan that fine-tunes your behaviours and focuses your energy and effort in the most productive places.

Clarifies positive leadership behaviours

The Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) assessment looks at your leadership as an expression of your true self, not masked by organisational politics like looking good or winning approval.

LCP measures the extent to which you relate to others authentically, courageously, and with integrity. This includes your ability to take tough stands, bring up the ‘un-discussibles’ (risky issues the group avoids discussing), deal openly with relationship problems, and share personal feelings and vulnerabilities about a situation.

Promotes culture-building conversations

360-degree feedback assessments break the ice and help create a culture where open conversations are valued and encouraged. Follow-up conversations triggered by the report can be a source of very illuminating insights.

Strengthens working relationships

360-degree feedback builds trust and respect by giving people a safe place to provide honest feedback on your leadership capabilities and performance. It shows you how you interact with others and highlights beliefs and behaviours that impact relationships positively and negatively. It provides part of a powerful blueprint for personal and professional growth and change, which benefits both you and your organisation.

Enhances your performance

Coupled with skilful coaching and high accountability, 360-degree feedback is an immensely powerful tool for improving your performance. It’s an excellent starting point for shaping your leadership development plan and a highly pragmatic way to get comfortable with receiving genuine diverse feedback. Furthermore, a revealing and highly motivating follow-up assessment after twelve months can measure how far you’ve come and indicate where you might go next.

Increases leadership accountability across your organisation

360-degree feedback drills deep into the specifics of ‘being a better leader.’ The assessment can trigger transformative change for you. In turn, your example provides your organisation with incontrovertible evidence of what good leadership looks like.

Lead with skill and emotional agility, and you’ll help set high and achievable expectations for all your organisation’s leaders and reinforce a healthy accountable culture.

Curious about a 360-degree feedback program for yourself or your leadership team?

We pride ourselves on doing it properly.

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