A leader's willingness to openly communicate about performance expectations can make such a difference in the health and overall culture of organizations, big and small. At Montani, we encourage a high level of transparency and dialogue by utilizing 360° feedback. This is the process of giving feedback to and receiving feedback from team members below, next to, and above you on the managerial ladder. And a mid-year check-in is the perfect opportunity to get these discussions underway.
Unlike traditional feedback loops, which act more like one-way feedback lines – from managers down to their subordinates – 360° feedback means your people are encouraged to offer insight to their leaders, peers, and anyone they may supervise.
Needless to say, this process is often initially met with some hesitation from leaders who are accustomed to dishing out feedback without being on the receiving end during performance reviews. But for organizations dedicated to improving the way they work and the growth of their team, getting a full-circle pulse of the company and the performance of every person is vital. Not only will soliciting feedback from employees you lead result in actionable ways to improve as a manager, but your employees will also feel that their experience and ideas matter. So while the main objective behind 360° feedback may not be to improve culture, we’ve witnessed this as a secondary benefit more times than not.
It’s worth noting that “feedback” doesn’t just cover where someone may be falling short. Candid conversations about a leader’s strengths are equally meaningful. Performance reviews often lead to too much talk about action when it comes to "fixing a problem." Leaders and HR professionals should consider action plans around strengths during or after performance conversations.
You wouldn’t truly be receiving 360° feedback if you missed out on insight from your “equals” and those below and above you; they have a different viewpoint than a leader (in terms of levels of involvement, stakes in the game, familiarity with details of your job, etc.). So by not soliciting feedback from this source, organizations are missing out on another dimension of crucial development for their team. Doing so can be as simple as asking them to share areas where they perceive you are growing, holding steady, or needing a little more of your focus. Not every organization will quickly jump on the 360° feedback wagon. Even if you find yourself in such an environment, I encourage you to take the initiative individually and request feedback from others.
If your business could use additional guidance in implementing effective feedback loops, click here for a list of sample questions managers can pose to employees and an email template to send to anyone within your organization to solicit feedback. Please reach out to my team at Montani Consulting with any questions.
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