Molding a Good Leader through a 360 Degree Feedback
In a company, every employee is as important as the next. They may perform different tasks but every step they take, whether big or small, has an impact to everyone around them and to the institution. Leaders are equally significant as their subordinates but what draws the line between them is the responsibility attached to their name and accountability associated with their position.
Leaders, such as managers and supervisors, are expected to guide employees to performing well and bringing out the best in them. The pressure they are given is almost always neck-deep because they know that anything they do, whether in a positive or negative way, can influence people who look up to them.
Leaders are seen high and mighty, and (almost) incapable of committing mistakes. But the thing is, bosses are humans too. They err and may disappoint, making their subordinates wonder if they deserve the position after all. They are not perfect, and that’s a fact. Leaders, like everyone else, still have room for improvement and one way to progress is through the 360-degree Feedback.
What is a 360 Degree Feedback
A 360-degree feedback is a process where an employee receives feedback in the form of survey and comments from their coworkers to help them see their performance and assess it.
It consists of a broad list of competencies measured by other employee’s evaluation of the person involved. Different feedback from different people will be collated and shown to the employee for him to see his performance from his colleague’s point of view. To protect the privacy of the raters’, their identities are kept confidential and only their assessments are disclosed.
Why Do Leaders Need This Kind of Feedback
Managers and supervisors can benefit greatly from this feedback session because it aims to present to them their strengths and weaknesses which they may or may not be aware of. Some employees may think that because their managers and supervisors are in a higher position than them, they are not in the right place to acknowledge capabilities, much less point out mistakes.
Leader evaluation from subordinates and peers is essential for them to change work behavior and improve on both their strengths and weaknesses. It gives them a panoramic and accurate view of how other people see their performance which in turn can help them improve and develop themselves. Most of the time, leaders don’t get honest feedback from their subordinates out of respect, and in certain occasions, fear, so having this kind of feedback system enables the subjects to be evaluated objectively regardless of their rank in the office.
Who Will Do the Assessment
Not everyone working under the leader should evaluate him/her. However, it can take between eight and fifteen assessors to give fair rating to the manager or supervisor. Only those who work closely with the leader should be selected to give an evaluation since they are the ones who know the leader’s work ethics, observe how he/she treats other people, and has a professional relationship with him.
Extracting information from a handful of carefully-selected people is better than getting feedback from employees who have barely worked with the boss who’s up for evaluation. They can only give judgment based on their general observation and not based from what they have actually encountered with the manager or supervisor.
The raters can be a mix of randomly-selected members of his team, fellow managers or supervisors, executives, or even clients. It must be made sure that the identities of the assessors be kept private to avoid conflicts at work as difference in opinion can affect the good working relationship among the team.
Who Will be Evaluated
Before you begin the process, you first need to determine whether you should include top-level bosses in the 360-degree evaluation or just want to confine the feedback session within the group of managers or supervisors in the company. Most of the time, only the managers and supervisors are involved in this kind of process because they are the ones who deal with both the executives and the employees directly.
On the other hand, it’s important that mid-level managers are included in this evaluation program for them to gauge whether they are ready to tackle bigger responsibilities or if they need to undergo more training and coaching.
How Will this be Implemented
The 360-degree feedback will involve several steps in order for it to be executed properly.
- The nature of the feedback process should be explained thoroughly to the subjects. They should fully understand what the assessment is for and what they will gain from it.
- Once the subject is fully aware of how 360-feedback works, set a schedule as to when the evaluation will take place to let the raters focus on this particular task. Being prepared can help them become more objective especially if they don’t’ feel the rush to finish the exercise.
- Decide if the evaluation will be done in the traditional manner of sending out hard copies and have them tick numerical values corresponding to the aspect described or doing it using their computers since this method is more convenient.
- Let the raters answer the evaluation and give them ample time to finish the entire assessment.
Aspects to be Evaluated
When using the 360-feedback method, there are several areas that you need to assess to determine which traits the subject is excelling or lacking. You can also choose to use a more specific set of criteria under each area to better gauge the performance of the employee under evaluation. Here is an example you can use as a guide
This measures the ability of the manager or supervisor to handle his team using different strategies and tactics. The leader should be a good example to his subordinates, command attention, and earn the respect of his colleagues minus the strong-arming. His or her ability to deal with different kinds of employees and motivate them into becoming their best is also evaluated in this area.
Learning from Experience
The leader should be constantly looking for ways to learn something new to gain experience which he or she can pass on to the people under his care.
Adaptability and Flexibility
He or she is able to handle changes in the processes well and respond to different situations with grace. The leader can deal with all of his colleagues by maintaining an open and rational mind.
The manager or supervisor commands respect by being a role model for the employees under his command. He watches his actions and follows rules before implementing them on the team.
Communication / Interpersonal skills
A leader is able to convey his or her message and even speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Leaders know the competencies of his teammates and use them to fill up the limitations of others and deliver the best results expected in a team.
In times where decisions have to be made, leaders should be ready to stand up and make sound judgments after considering the consequences that may be brought by it.
Relationship Building / Maintenance
Leaders should be easy to approach and be able to provide assistance to troubled coworkers. They should be available for consultation and ready to lend a helping hand to ease concerns at work and at times even personal issues that may affect their work.
Managing Expectations and Changes in the Workplace
They should have an open mind to accept things around them that is constantly changing and ready to take steps in order to learn something new for the team and company.
Write a Report
After the evaluation, review all the data and collate them into a report. Synthesize everything into a comprehensive report, paraphrasing comments so that the subjects won’t be able to decipher who said what.
Call for a meeting with them individually. Have them read the results and comments, and then discuss with them the good and bad feedback alternately. Subjects can get emotional once they see what people around them have to say, that’s why it’s important to be sensitive about it. End the conversation in a good light and talk about how the manager or supervisor can improve and address the concerns of his or her coworkers.
The end goal of this feedback system is not to embarrass, belittle, or terminate the subjects. The aim of the 360-feedback is to help leaders realize their potential to become better individuals so that they, in turn, can inspire and shape those employees who look up to them. If the leaders concerned are lacking in some areas, they must be guided on how to improve on that aspect.
When all is said and done, you can make them undergo training sessions to sharpen their skills and become more competent in their field. Leaders must also participate in seminars that focus on leadership and management, and even personality development to become a better version not of themselves--a leverage that people around them will also benefit from.
The 360-degree feedback is just one of the many ways to make employees become aware of their strengths and weaknesses and turn it into assets through proper guidance and training. Leaders are not exempted from this kind of feedback session since they have shortcomings too, despite the big responsibilities entrusted to them. Companies should integrate the 360-degree feedback in their management to constantly mold leaders into efficient and competent individuals.