Professionally managed, 360 degree feedback increases individual self-awareness, and as part of a strategic organisational process can promote:
- Increased understanding of the behaviours required to improve organisational effectiveness
- More focused development activities, built around the skills and competencies necessary for successful individual and organisational performance
- Increased involvement of people at all levels of the organisation
- Increased individual ownership for self-development and learning
- Increased familiarity with the implications of cultural or strategic change
Formal 360-degree assessments are the best predictors of a leader’s effectiveness, actual business performance, engagement, and job (and life) satisfaction (Goleman & Boyatzis, 2017). Another important aspect is its use as a performance management intervention. Analysis of performance management interventions reveals that 70% have or effect or make matters worse (Kluger & DeNisi, 1996), whereas approaches based on development and goal setting provides layered feedback points that can increase an employee’s responsiveness and commitment to improving (Atwater, Brett, & Charles, 2007).
The heart of a 360 degree feedback process is the framework used to evaluate organisational members against. The framework guides the questions/statements used in a 360 degree feedback process, and it needs to describe the behaviours which relate to actual job performance. It also needs to be a reliable measurement tool.
Whether the same instrument is used across the organisation or for different job roles will depend on how relevant the behaviours are for the different groups involved.
Identify Competencies and Expectations for your Organisation
The first thing to decide is whether you want to work from an existing competency model or develop your own. Resist the temptation to re-invent the wheel. Many organisations spend a great deal of time and effort creating a “unique” competency model for their 360 degree feedback program which ends up looking quite similar to other existing competency models. Most fail to identify the technical skills required because of their generic use across a broad range of job categories.
In 2013, Management Research Group (MRG) completed a large-scale global study addressing this question. Their research showed that great leaders are both goal-oriented and people oriented. In a sample of 60,000 managers, only 0.77% were perceived as having both goal and social focus (Kabacoff, 2014). Therefore, there is a need for leaders to have both strategic and social skills.
We have had great success using the Practice FiveTM framework in 360 degree feedback projects (Gibney & Dagley, 2017).
The Practice FiveTM framework has a two-tier structure and outlines 12 behavioural aspects that contribute to excellence. The first eight aspects (covered by the acronym PRACTICE) are focused on personal contributions. Developing in those eight aspects will vastly improve the performance of people in their current role and will orient them towards leadership.
The second set of four aspects (covered by the acronym FIVE) provide a basis for developing excellence in leadership.
No matter what competency framework you use, the instrument needs to describe specific work behaviours and be in line with the organisation’s culture and values. It should provide a broad base for cultural change organisationally and, also provide a customised approach to individual learning and skills development. The process should provide each participant with the ability to assess their strengths and vulnerabilities and to develop actions that will assist them to reach their next level of excellence.
Atwater, L. E., Brett, J. F., & Charles, A. C. (2007). Multisource Feedback: Lessons learned and implications for practice. Human Resource Management, 46(2), 285-307.
Clark, J. M., Quast, L. N., Jang, S., Wohkittel, J., Center, B., Edwards, K., & Bovornusvakool, W. (2016). GLOBE Study culture clusters: Can they be found in Importance ratings of managerial competencies? European Journal of Training and Development, 40(7), 534-553.
Gibney, P., & Dagley, K. (2017). Practice Five: Turbo Charging your Leadership. Melbourne: Unique Publishing.
Goleman, D., & Boyatzis, R. (2017, February 6). Emotional Intelligence has 12 elements. Which do you need to work on? Harvard Business Review.
Kabacoff, R. (2014, February 7). Develop Strategic Thinkers Throughout Your Organization. Retrieved March 7, 2017, from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2014/02/develop-strategic-thinkers-throughout-your-organization
Kluger, A. N., & DeNisi, A. (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychological, 119(2), 254–284.
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