Although confronting, a little disappointing, and somewhat of a real eye-opener, a recent 360 degree assessment allowed me to really reflect on how people perceive my behaviour. During the feedback process I had to remember that this was not a reflection of my personality, but an opportunity to improve my behaviour and interaction with others.
My reactions ranged from denial and anger to the need to go and confront the people who filled in the survey. Thankfully, I did not do this as once I got over the disappointing results; I felt this was a genuine eye opener for me. In some ways, that is the ultimate purpose of a 360 degree feedback assessment; to get you out of your comfort zone, to help you understand what people think of your displayed behaviour and to think of new ways to develop your interaction styles with others.
360 degree feedback assessments are opportunities for an employee or manager to understand how their peers, subordinates and managers perceive the individual’s strengths and areas of development. There are numerous developed 360 degree assessment feedback tools, with some having strong validity and reliability levels and others that are internally designed by organisations and are for internal use only. The main focus when implementing a 360 degree assessment should be on how the tool is run and how feedback is given to the individual by an appropriate person. 360 degree feedback assessments can be used for:
- Career development
- Personal and professional development
- As part of a performance management system
- To increase team work
Emotional reactions to the feedback gained and the after-effects are probably the most important things to monitor and manage by both the de-briefer and the recipient of the feedback. If not managed well, then the recipients may leave the debrief session feeling less positive, demoralised and resentful of the group who filled in the survey.
Since that time I have now become accredited in the Life Styles Inventory, a product of the Human Synergistic group. This tool is designed to promote constructive change – transformational change – with the feedback helping individuals more clearly understand what is currently supporting and hindering their personal effectiveness, with guidance to developing more constructive styles of thinking and behaving.
Debrief sessions are run with the intention of helping someone along the path of self-discovery. The first session involves debriefing someone on their results and how they perceive the results reflect or don’t reflect their behaviour at work. A de-briefer questions why the individual has chosen who they have to fill in the survey. This choice reflects the relationships they have with their colleagues.
The second session involves understanding the individual’s responses after the results and debriefs session. By this time, most individuals have had a time to reflect on their results, discuss it with their close ones and maybe also presented their results to the key people in the organisation. At this point most people have come to an action plan stage, where goals are set and emotions are stabilized.
When my 360 degree results were provided to me initially, I had a few days to think about it before my next debrief session which was focused on action planning and my responses to the people who filled in the assessment. My session took place in a big training room and I had the opportunity to talk about how I felt about the results and whether I agreed with it. In those first couple of sessions, I had a feeling of wanting to argue against the results and asking about the validity of this assessment. But when you have had that chance to sit down and think about, go home and discuss the results or sit in a train thinking of the results, you get that opportunity to really reflect on the results and your responses to them.
Someone once told me that “Rohita, you will always get opinions, facts and jibber-jabber from a behavioural assessment, depending on what it is and how it was developed. It is up to you to take what you want from these and work with it or to disregard it”. This was my opportunity to look at what I needed to develop and I was going to be as positive about it as possible. This year will be a good opportunity to understand myself better and the impact that my behaviour has on others.