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How does 360 Degree Feedback Work?

360 degree feedback is useful in discussing leadership and performance in a management role by identifying strengths and weaknesses, but how does it work?

When taking part in 360 degree feedback, there are 4 areas to focus on:

1. Timing

To ensure the feedback receives the most valuable results, the timing of the feedback is crucial. You may choose to collate the required feedback at the end of a project or at the time of a specific event.

2. What to Focus on

It is important that you have a clear line of focus when conducting feedback sessions. Areas of importance may include:

  • Achievement of goals – Managers and supervisors should set out a clear working plan and working goals for the year. In the feedback, there should be a focus on these goals – especially on how they are achieved.
  • Aspects of the job - throughout the feedback, it may be more timely and of value to focus on the aspects of a job rather than the job as a whole.
  • Leadership attributes - Leadership attributes that are important include personal stance or effectiveness, strategic focus, managing people, planning and decision making, relationships, managing change and achieving results. By focusing on these attributes throughout feedback it enables you to gain a greater understanding of your manager’s abilities.

3. Sources of feedback

You’re not limited to one source when it comes to gathering feedback. You may also choose to gather feedback from customers, employees, and immediate supervisors depending on the depth of information required about the manager.

4. Methodology

Depending on the context of the feedback, there is not one method that will cover all circumstances. The way that you collect the feedback can be dependent on the situation, so it is important that you carefully consider the feedback method. (You may find that 360 feedback may not be the most appropriate for the situation.)

By focusing on these four areas when conducting 360 degree feedback, you will ensure that you conduct a thorough feedback session, as well us have a greater understanding of how 360 degree feedback works.

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About the Author: Fiona Lang

Fiona Lang
Fiona Lang is an experienced human resources consultant, line manager and financial controller. She has designed and delivered feedback, training and development programs for organisations in the government, non-profit and corporate sectors. She has worked across Australia in management positions for ANZ bank, Citibank and the National Australia Bank Group. She holds a B.A. (Psychology) and Dip.FP.

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