An amazingly effective way to get feedback as a leader is by participating in a 360 Feedback process. As most of you may know this is a formal process by which to gather feedback in a safe and anonymous environment from a variety of perspectives all around you, hence the term 360 from a 360 degree look. Feedback is solicited from your boss, your peers, and your direct reports. Often leaders can also solicit feedback from vendors or suppliers.
The key is to get perceptions from people who know you well in terms of your leadership skills and style, communication, and other core leadership competencies.
I often ask participants in the process if they want to include their spouse in the list of respondents. I usually get a chuckle and an ‘are you serious?” (And yes I am.)
The feedback is collected either through interviews or with an electronic survey. All of the respondent’s feedback is kept anonymous. The only exception is that the boss’ feedback is not. The rationale to this is that if your boss cannot be open and direct with you than we have big trouble. There is a proper process of how to receive the feedback and turn it into an action plan. Please look for my upcoming whitepaper in the autumn that will cover the steps and methodology to an effective 360 Feedback process.
In the great majority of my executive coaching assignments I use the 360 process at some point. Generally it is done earlier in the coaching relationship. It is a very powerful process.
For most leaders they know what is coming with usually one or two surprises in their blind spot. For other leaders, it can be a big time reality check.
Either way it is an awesome experience to fine tune or if necessary overhaul different aspects of your leadership ability. Whether the feedback is fully accurate or just a firmly held perception the leader still must respond to it in the best way possible.
It is akin to someone telling you that you have a piece off broccoli in your teeth right before you take the stage to give your big keynote presentation. It feels a little uncomfortable when you are told but you are very grateful that you now know and can make things right. If you have never taken part in the 360 Feedback process it may be time so I invite you to investigate further. For those who have already participated in the process I recommend to my clients that they should participate in the process at least every 2-3 years.