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10 Tips To Get The Most From Your 360 Feedback

360 feedback can be an anxiety provoking experience. Having undertaken the assessment myself a few times and also facilitated and coached many people through theirs, I have noticed that the mindset you adopt about both the process and the content is key to your perspective, your reactions, your learning and how much value you gain from the experience.

So What is 360 Feedback?

It is a process, which enables you to find out how the people you work with and influence, experience your leadership. These commonly include direct reports, peers and managers (your raters). Each of your chosen raters, completes a survey in which they rate your leadership behaviours, capability and effectiveness. Apart from (usually) your manager, all of the raters responses are generally anonymous.

Why Engage in 360 Feedback

If you take a look at the Johari Window Model developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955, you will notice that there are four areas of self knowing:

  1. That which we know about ourselves and are happy to share with others
  2. That which we know about ourselves that we do not want others to know and which we hide
  3. That which others know about us, but we don’t know about ourselves: our blind spot
  4. That which is completely unknown by ourselves and others and a potential area for discovery

(For more information about Johari see the link in the references)

360 feedback though the lens of this model, has the potential to help us (depending on our mindset) to increase our self-knowledge and awareness and gain insight into our blind spots in the context of how we work with and lead others. This in conjunction with education, training and/or coaching is a process that is commonly used in leadership development.

Creating a Positive Learning Experience

David Rock (2009) likens the feeling we get prior to impending feedback, akin to that experienced when someone is following you down a dark alley. I think you will agree this is not a useful feeling to have prior to receiving your 360 feedback. Below are some tips that may assist you to reduce this feeling and instead, develop a mindset that is open to learning and growth in this context.

  1. Find a coach who is experienced in facilitating 360 feedback and has a track record of helping people achieve positive results. They should be able to help you identify your strengths, consider your career goals and what broad outcomes you would like to gain from the feedback before you begin
  2. Before your feedback session, consider your career goals. Where do you want to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5?
  3. As you begin to review and unpack your feedback, remind yourself that completing these surveys is not easy and rater’s have taken the time to give you the gift of their opinion. Most people do this from a place of wanting you to do well
  4. Remember that we each see the world as we are, not as it actually is. The raters are also within their own Johari window and generally speaking can only rate your leadership from their perspective. No one can see the whole picture. That is why the feedback is facilitated. So you can be assisted to unpack it and apply it to your situation, role and career gaols
  5. It’s ok to feel emotional about your feedback. It’s a perfectly normal to feel disappointed that you are not perfect and see the negative more than the positive at first. Consider that feedback doesn’t happen in isolation, it occurs in the context of the ups and downs of life, both yours and your raters, so be kind to yourself
  6. Focus on the positives and identified strengths in the first instance. These are your foundation and from these you can build, learn and grow
  7. It is through the process of facilitation and coaching you will be assisted to make sense of your feedback and determine how you want to move forward in your leadership development. You shouldn’t have to do this alone
  8. You don’t have to agree with all of the feedback. Negative feedback can be either general or it can be context specific related to an event, or to a specific day or situation. It’s important to unpack it with your facilitator and discuss and determine what you want to take on board, what you don’t and why.
  9. You don’t have to take on board all of the suggestions for development, even if you agree with them all. No leaders are perfect and everyone will have areas they want to improve, but if you take on too much at once you will be less effective. Consider the top three that relate directly to your role and/or to your career goals. Once you have achieved your goals around those you can always go back and look at other areas.
  10. Zenger and Folkman (2009) talk about fatal flaws in leadership. These are a list of 10 behaviours and qualities that their research indicates characterise the worst leaders. If one of these is identified throughout your feedback, they suggest it needs to be addressed as a priority (i.e. one of your top 3). See the reference list for a link to their article.

I wish you well in your leadership development and if you implement these tips, or not, I would love to hear how  360 feedback went for you. If you are looking for a coach to help you with 360 feedback please get in touch.


David Rock, 2009. Available 26.2.18

Johari Window Accessed 26.2.18

Ten Fatal Flaws That Derail Leaders, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman. June 2009. Accessed 26.2.18

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