We think of 360° evaluations as a tool to provide individual feedback and to spark personal growth for each employee. It’s true. It is also more.
The person receiving the 360° evaluation receives feedback from multiple perspectives. It’s like seeing the Eiffel Tower from the bottom looking up AND from the insides observing the crowd below simultaneously. Quite a feat!
(Aside: With Covid-19 it is no longer a crowd gathered under the Eiffel Tower but neatly spaced privileged visitors!)
Your Culture of Collaboration
The process itself is collaborative. If your company promotes a culture of collaboration and purpose-filled work, your 360° can present an opportunity to reinforce the culture. Still be honest with the feedback! Both good and difficult news is important to share.
You can reinforce your constructive corporate culture by specifying HOW to express it so that the appreciation and the critique are well received.
Let’s say your company values creativity and diversity. This brings challenges along with benefits. Being creative implies innovation and some initiatives will fail. Along with the riches of diversity come the challenges of different assumptions which lead to crossed signals in communication.
Encourage your team to conduct 360° evaluations SO THAT folk
- will be able to pick themselves up after the fall (it’s not easy to receive tough feedback) and
- understand the context of comments and come to realize that things they take for granted might not be givens to other people
Let’s get specific.
Here is an example of guidelines to send out to your team as they complete the 360° feedback.
12 Tips to 360° Evaluations OUR WAY
We are thankful for the time and effort you are investing in the 360° evaluations which we aim to help us grow individually as well as together.
We realize this can be a stressful to some as you wonder what to say and how to share it. Here are some tips to make the process easier.
You will be sharing both positive and critical feedback. We organized these tips accordingly.
Tips for Giving Feedback, Positive or Critical
1. Remember the human on the receiving end of your feedback
We are vulnerable in giving and receiving feedback.
Consider giving feedback as if it were a gift, and aim for it be something others are grateful to receive. Yes, tough news can be one of the most liberating gifts of all; it points to how to grow.
The receiver might not know exactly from whom the gift was sent (but they could guess), YOU know what you wrote. You will have to live with yourself. Give yourself the gift of being able to look at yourself in the mirror with self-respect.
2. Remember the purpose of the 360° is for everyone to grow
360° evaluations are for the individual SO THAT they can belong and contribute more effectively to the organization. In that way, the company grows.
You will be working with these people, possibly for years!
3. Be aware of your emotional reaction to other’s behaviors
Did you know that your emotions points to the cause of what is helpful or what is hurtful?
So, Joe arrives late in meetings. What is the real issue? Your emotions will give you cues. Do you feel undermined? Then maybe power is at stake. Are there other situations that make you feel the same way?
Or maybe you feel disrespected? Are there other situations where every one’s time is considered less important than his/hers?
4. Go beyond your emotions to specify the impactof the helpful or hurtful behavior
Your emotions help give context.
How about telling Jane, who consistently arrives 3 minutes early, how her timeliness conveys enthusiasm and makes you want to work with her and trust her. Your positive observation could be a change vector. SHE will be the one encouraging others in punctuality!
5. Be specific
“Nice to work with.” is just as unhelpful as “Pain to work with.”
Beware of “nice.” Without additional depth, it comes across as an insult. Is that the ONLY positive thing they could think of about me?
Specific is hard when giving anonymous feedback. And yet, there might be trends.
“I appreciate how she is prepared at every meeting and has even anticipated potential questions.”
“I notice he often speaks first in our interactions both 1:1 and in groups. His contributions are helpful, and yet I wonder if he discourages others from contributing too. It is the case with me. It takes energy to compete for the first word.”
6. Give an indication of the importance of the issue
Imagine that you lose $1. How do you feel?
Probably annoyed but it’s no big deal.
Imagine if you loose $100. How do you feel?
PRETTY. PEEVED. You might need a coffee to cool down(!)
Similarly, what is the intensity of the issue? Is it minor?
Was it something small (that the receiver might still consider a “no big deal”) and because it happens every day, now dominates your rapport?
Otherwise it is helpful to know, “This rarely happens, but when it does…..”
For Positive Feedback
7. Remember to give positive feedback
Great companies and contributors know what to replicate.
What does the other person do consistently? They might feel it is taken for granted. Recognize the effort.
“When I send you documents you always confirm receipt. I like it because I know the ball is in your court and I can concentrate on other things.”
8. If you cannot think of something positive, dig deeper
One person is always on your nerves and your mind goes blank when trying to think of one strength?
It might be because you take things for granted. We all take things for granted. As humans we are wired that way to survive. We are also wired to need belonging and to know that we contribute.
To dig deeper and find a positive attribute, try imagining what your work would be like without the other person doing that job…in fact without anyone doing that job.
For Negative Feedback
9. Phrase feedback as a question or a musing
“I wonder if…..”
“I wonder if Joe realizes the impact he has on colleagues when ….”
“I notice that Joe is frequently late for meetings, and I wonder how our work environment would change if we all arrived 3 minutes early…..”
10. Consider presenting negative feedback with the word “yet”
Remember the purpose of the 360° is to help colleagues grow. This seemingly insignificant word “yet” transforms a critique into an invitation to grow. It expresses confidence in the ability for the person to evolve. Try it.
- “His reports are not clear.”
- “His reports are not yet clear.”
Which of these motivates you MORE to learn about super-clear report writing?!
11. Don’t stay with blame. Say what you want
Blame is easy. Being constructive is harder. That’s why I love this quote from President John F. Kennedy:
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
In this statement, JFK reframed the issue.
This is your opportunity to change the frame too. Instead of focusing on what should be eliminated, point to what you want to see grow instead.
12. Remember who’s job is what
In the end, they are responsible for their performance and you for yours.
Your job is to collaborate and reach results together. Your job is not to do their job…or to have them do their job your way.
Please express your needs . Give your colleague the respect to figure out how to fulfill those requests.
Micromanagement is no fun and stifles growth…for everyone. You too. You could be learning by delegating….or learning to delegate!
Giving 360° feedback helps you grow as much as receiving it does!
ENJOY (YES 🤔 ) the process!