I am a zealot about the 360 degree feedback tool of performance management. 

360 feedback is not new, but in my leadership experience it is one of the most effective methods of assessing how you perform your responsibilities, and what you need to do to improve. 

And it works for all sizes of business and not-for-profits.

There are two components of performance management that benefit from feedback.

1. Performance evaluation 

The assessment of HOW you do your job: your behaviors and competencies, how others perceive you, your listening, planning, and goal-setting skills and other dimensions such as teamwork, character, and leadership effectiveness.

2. Performance Development 

Determining the things you need to do to improve your performance in the future.

360 Feedback provides a view of your performance not only from your boss, but also from your peers and colleagues in the organization that interact with you on a regular basis. 

Your peers provide the most honest appraisal of how you perform your responsibilities; next on the ‘honest scale’ are your colleagues and the least is your boss. 

Its not that your boss is incompetent, its just that they don’t get to see you every day doing your thing like others do. They see a snapshot of you in action when you are typically performing for them. 

In addition your boss may be seeing your behavior through rose colored glasses, but your peers don’t. And they are not shy about giving you the feedback you need to hear. 

For performance development, 360 Feedback provides a multi-dimensional view of what improvements are needed. 

Dysfunctional behaviors are identified – with no holds barred – along with specific strengths and other weaknesses that need to be addressed.

To get the most personal payback from 360 feedback, follow these steps:

a. Make your target audience as robust as possible

You want an unbiased view of how you are doing which can only come from a broad and deep sample of contributors. 

In addition to your boss, I suggest oversampling the number of peers in your list; they will typically be the most forthcoming respondents.

b. Include other key individuals in the organization 

The individuals who are impacted by your work and who see you operate regularly. I always included frontline service and sales people to get their perspective on how well I was supporting them in my marketing role.

c. Try to include your boss’s peer group 

Only if they are willing. Certainly look to the other functional area in the organization you are interested in and will most likely be applying to as a candidate in the future.

4. Explain what you are doing and why you are doing it

Stress that you want to improve your current performance and prepare for future opportunities. And thank each of them for willing to be involved in your career.

5. Ask for feedback every six months

It’s really not that useful getting an annual view. People change roles and they come and go. You want a running video from those you currently engage with on how you are performing, not periodic snapshots from a group of people who have no continuity with you.

6. Communicate your results to your feedback audience

Tell them where you rated well and where you need to improve. You don’t have to talk about numbers, just the subject matter areas included in the questionnaire – “Keeps me continually informed on product improvements” would be an example.

You may find this uncomfortable, but in particular sharing your weaknesses is viewed by others as gutsy and an expression of confidence and leadership they will notice and not forget.

7. Build a feedback action plan 

Address your shortfalls and continue to strengthen what you do well.

8. Communicate your action plan to your feedback audience

Make sure they all know what you intend to do to improve your results.

360. A simple concept with amazing results.

Written By
Roy Osing is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.You can also read more of Roy Osing's articles at his website.