360 Degree Feedback

Self-awareness is one of the most critical elements of success in life and work. Knowing what we are good at and not so good at allows us to make better decisions about jobs, careers and the kind of professional development that would be of greatest benefit.

360 Degree feedbackUnfortunately, the critical feedback needed to reach this understanding can be hard to come by. Managers and executives everywhere are busy and tactically focused which means that time and attention to giving careful and thorough feedback on how we are doing is often overlooked.

What is 360-degree feedback?

360-Degree feedback is a process where our boss, colleagues, subordinates and others who know us well can provide a confidential assessment of our skills in an online survey. It can be an eye-opening experience for some, especially if there is a gap between how we see ourselves and how others do.

What are the critical elements of a good 360 strategy?

Many organisations have come to recognise that 360-Degree feedback is a powerful way to help people perform and develop to their full potential. Done well, it simulates towards self-improvement in line with business goals and personal career aspirations.

There are some simple, yet effective steps to ensure the 360-degree process is positive and constructive for participants and other stakeholders. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you get started.

If you want honest ratings (rather than inflated ratings)...

  • Be clear about the intent of the 360; emphasise that the learner owns the report
  • Orient raters to the process and give them some training
  • Remind participants (self-raters) that there is a tendency for people to inflate self-ratings and that they should be tempered in their self-assessment
  • Do not burden any single rater with too many surveys at one time.

If you want participants to accept their feedback (rather than explain it away)...

  • Ensure the participant receives guided feedback from an accredited, trusted coach
  • Allow participants to select their raters, but not "load the deck" based on a desire for only favourable ratings
  • Participants should be very honest.  If not, they will see inaccurate blinds spots and/or hidden strengths
  • Build in accountability for development planning as an outcome.

If you want a system that encourages development (rather than a single activity)...

  • Position 360-degree feedback as one source of information in a broader strategy to develop people; how it links
  • Create a climate for honest conversations to happen between participants and their managers
  • Provide visible recognition for people who are serious and intentional about their development
  • Be disciplined in tracking and measuring what has changed as a result of the process.

How does 360-degree feedback benefit leadership development?

At LDN International we believe 360-degree feedback is essential for leadership development because it:

  • Raises the self-awareness of participants
  • Stimulates self-improvement for job and career success
  • Allows participants to make better choices about their development
  • Creates a climate for honest development conversations
  • Helps teams learn to work more effectively together
  • Determines common development needs across groups.

With over 15 years' experience in administering 360-Degree surveys and providing feedback to individuals and teams, LDN has some tips for getting the most from your investment in this form of development:

  • Be clear about the intent of the 360 and orient participants and their raters before the event so they have the right mindset when completing surveys.
  • Keep 360 results confidential for each participant and make it known you are doing so; this will encourage raters to be open and candid in their feedback.
  • Give participants guidance on how to choose their raters so they don't 'load the deck' based on a desire for only favourable ratings.
  • Make sure participants receive feedback from a skilled and experienced coach so that they can interpret the results fully and accurately.
  • Position 360 events as one source of information that is part of a broader strategy to develop people; show how it all links together.

In addition, it is important that the 360-Degree survey instrument you use contains items that are directly related to the skills that lead to success at work. For this reason, we recommend the 360 degree feedback tool Korn Ferry 360, an update to VOICES®, as it uses the rich, research-based library of Leadership Architect® competencies.

To find out more about ways to drive highly effective 360-degree feedback programs please call us on +61 (3) 9666 3320 or email