360 Feedback Articles

Self-Assessment versus Feedback

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 9/18/2013

There are times when it is helpful to allow employees to analyze or assess their own performance versus providing them with your own feedback or perspective. This allows the person to think about what they did—what worked and what didn’t. As the leader/manager, you can certainly add to the conversation; however, the starting point is to take more of a coaching role and allow the employee to comment on the situation.

It involves three simple steps outlined below. Choose which questions best fit the situation and adapt to meet your needs.

1. Ask about what went well.

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When to Avoid 360 Degree Feedback

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 4/3/2013

Is 360 degree feedback ever inappropriate? Yes, when:

• there is no clear purpose for the 360 degree feedback process.
• it is not fully supported by the leaders in the organization.
• individuals have not been in their roles long enough to provide or receive valid feedback (our suggestion is that individuals be in a role at least 8 months).
• there are not enough respondents who truly understand the full scope of the individual’s responsibilities.
• the group or organization is experiencing or just experienced major change.
• there is a high degree of mistrust or cynicism in the organization.
• the goal for the process is not development focused.

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Development Planning? Focus on Strengths…Close Development Gaps

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 3/14/2013

“People can do great things. However, there are some things they just CAN’T do. I, for instance, have not been able to transform myself into a Popsicle, despite years of effort.” — Brandon Sanderson, American fantasy author

Much has been written over the past several years about focusing on one’s strengths. Thousands of individuals at all levels in organizations have taken the StrengthsFinder® survey. For those unfamiliar, the StrengthsFinder® is an assessment that reveals dominant “themes” that help people focus on their strengths and abilities and focus their work and lives around them. The premise is that it makes more sense to leverage our strengths and talents versus trying to overcome shortcomings.

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Know What You Do Well and Build On It

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 7/5/2012

Einstein QuoteFor the past 20 years or so, I have used 360 degree feedback tools to help leaders continue to learn and grow. I think they are extremely valuable in helping people see where they are at; what strengths to leverage; and, what improvement opportunities exist.

While extremely valuable, a mistake I regularly see is the desire to focus only on the negative. Now, I understand this. By nature, when I look at something I’ve done, it is easier for me to talk about what still needs to be improved versus commenting on what was right. When it comes to my own self-examination, I have a nasty inner critic of excellence that tells me to do more, do better, change, or adjust.

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360 Degree Feedback: Using the Data

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 3/20/2012

Over the last several years, I have noticed a trend in 360 degree feedback that I think should be a “watch out” for organizations taking part in the process.  What I am seeing more and more, particularly from organizations that are new to the process, is a disproportionate amount of attention on the “bells and whistles” of the 360 survey tool.

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Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 12/1/2011

Clients often share with us stories about significant decisions or turning points for their organizations.  These stories are common knowledge for those working in the organization and provide a bit of insight about how the company got to where it is.  Interestingly, I found myself thinking about one of Calibra’s “stories” which we share with clients and potential clients in conversation but haven’t previously put into print – where did the idea to use a dual-scale 360 assessment come from?

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Is Your Mind(set) Open to Feedback?

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 2/16/2011

We are often contacted by executives interested in getting a potential leader some coaching. In most instances the future leader sees the coaching relationship their organization is offering as an investment in their future – a chance to receive feedback and learn. But, on occasion, a leader may push back and approach the coaching relationship as if it calls in to question their competence. Clearly these are two distinct perceptions of coaching and its purpose.

While there certainly can be varied reasons for the reactions to coaching and feedback, I do think Carol Dweck’s Mindset framework (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success) can be a good starting point. Dr. Dweck’s research has identified two distinct mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

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How to Build Credibility

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 1/11/2011

For those trying to establish credibility with co-workers, focus on the 3 C’s:

1. Competence – the technical, managerial, or leadership capabilities of an individual (e.g., knowledge, skills and abilities). Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I have the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to be productive? How do I know?
  • Do I execute? Do I hold myself and/or others accountable for getting results?
  • Am I efficient and productive? Do I deliver in a timely fashion?
  • Are others convinced of my competence? How do I know?
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Hold a Mirror Up to the Behavior

Author: Paul Dillenburg, Date: 11/2/2010

In a particularly challenging coaching meeting, I was helping an individual interpret the results from a 360 degree feedback assessment. Throughout the report, this individual was receiving feedback that she doesn’t listen and tends to openly discredit others’ ideas if they do not align with her own. Not only were the ratings she was receiving indicating these were areas for improvement, but the open-ended comments were candidly providing examples.

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Be True to Yourself

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 10/26/2010

In a recent post I talked about communication style and adaptability.  I think this is one issue we have spent the most time on over the years—from the C-suite to the frontline.  As mentioned previously, it is also one of the most consistent themes in 360 feedback surveys (i.e., that managers need to do a better job adapting their style to meet the needs of other people—in particular their staff and peers). 

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