Getting Leadership Feedback – 360 Assessments

In my last post we examined how successfully “leading by example” can be a challenge if you don’t have an accurate picture of the example you are setting in your organization.  In order to evaluate your leadership style and how you are influencing workplace productivity and workplace culture, you will need some feedback from those who are in a position to observe you as you lead. How does a leader receive honest feedback on the impact they are having on the people they lead? 

A 360-assessment on your leadership abilities is the first step in getting genuine feedback.  A 360-assessment is a survey of the people you work with across all departments that provides anonymous feedback from a variety of vantage points.  This includes people who report to you, peers and colleagues in your organization, your supervisor, and even clients and customers when appropriate.  It is important to note, that the supervisor’s response is often not anonymous because their observations and recommendations carry greater weight than others in your sphere.

Different surveys have different approaches, but most follow a similar format.  Respondents are asked to rate your performance on leadership competencies and to provide specific comments.  It is recommended you have someone experienced in 360 surveys consult with you to help interpret the results once they are delivered.  (Tip: If you work for the Federal government, the Office of Personnel Management offers this service.) 

Once you have decided to employ an assessment for your leadership feedback, you should consider all of your available resources. Companies routinely use 360-assessments as part of the performance-management process.  Survey Monkey currently has a free 360-assessment that can be tailored to individual situations. Human Resource professionals and Executive Coaches are trained in a variety of 360-assessments and can help interpret results and develop a plan to improve your leadership capabilities if needed.   

If you have never conducted a 360-assessment, you are missing out on an opportunity to learn valuable information about yourself.  It is a powerful tool and provides insights otherwise not available to you.  It also teaches you how to gracefully receive an analysis of your performance and to help you become a stronger leader.  Remember, all feedback is good feedback.  In the next post, we will continue discussing methods you can use to measure your leadership performance.