360-Degree Feedback

Relationship-Based 360-degree feedback …..

is used most frequently with managers and leaders within organisations. It differs from competency-based feedback in many ways, including:

Feedback is typically open (not confidential)
Feedback recipients invite providers to participate (as opposed to being randomly selected)
Feedback is usually bi-directional (because it is subjective information about the relationship versus competency-based feedback, which attempts to generate objective data)
Following is a simple process to facilitate useful relationship-based feedback and some examples of how the various feedback tools are commonly used.

Relationship-Based Feedback – 
Facilitators typically like to start with self-assessment and ask everyone who will participate in the feedback process to complete the SDI and/or Portraits as part of a group. These groups also are involved in designing the feedback process and determining the results they would like to achieve through it. Because of the nature of this feedback, many people find themselves in two roles – both feedback provider and feedback recipient.

Feedback recipients then determine who they would like to receive feedback from and distribute the feedback tools. A facilitator typically summarises the information into a 360-degree report and coordinates individual or group meetings to discuss the feedback results. Individual meetings provide an opportunity to consider all available feedback from each provider, and group meetings provide time to consider all feedback generated from the same tool for one recipient at a time.

When feedback recipients have reviewed all their feedback, they create some type of action plan and communicate that plan to the people who will be affected by it or could help to achieve it. Ideally, some type of formal follow up work is also done, though many feedback programs actually leave this step for the participants to work out on their own.

People who attend the 2-day Relationship Awareness Facilitator Certification course gather feedback from 5 people as course pre-work and review the feedback in the course. Facilitation considerations and techniques are shared in much more detail in this course.

Feedback Edition of the SDI

This tool is used to provide feedback about an individual’s style of relating when things are going well and in conflict. It generates an arrow on a triangle that can be compared to the arrow from the feedback recipient’s SDI. This tool is generally most effective with a facilitator who understands the subtleties of Motivational Values and Conflict Sequences and can guide the discussion to help participants understand their own results more fully. This is our most frequently used feedback tool.

Feedback Portrait of Personal Strengths

This easy-to-use tool generates feedback about personal strengths. 28 defined characteristics are sorted by the feedback provider and compared to the self-sort done by the feedback recipient. A simple gap-analysis worksheet highlights characteristics that are viewed in different ways by each person and serves as the springboard for discussion. This tool is easier for participants to understand quickly and generates more targeted discussion because participants are comparing the ranking of specific characteristics. Many feedback providers report that this tool is more difficult to complete than the Feedback Edition of the SDI, yet recipients often report that it was also more valuable. The gap analysis can be summarised in a 360-Degree format to highlight trends.

Feedback Portrait of Overdone Strengths

This tool works essentially the same way as the Feedback Portrait of Personal Strengths with the exception that the characteristics are all overdone strengths. People who receive this type of feedback, especially in a 360-degree format, get direct and actionable feedback about how they may be generating unwarranted conflict in their relationships. With this knowledge, they become more aware of the behaviour choices they make and are more likely to borrow behaviour to prevent unwarranted conflict. Feedback providers also have an opportunity to reframe their perception of the recipient and be part of preventing unwarranted conflict.

Expectations Edition of the SDI

This tool examines relationship expectations. It looks forward and serves as a springboard for discussion about what people expect of a person in a given role or job. When it is used for 360-degree feedback, the feedback recipient also completes the tool so their self-expectations and personal SDI result can be compared with the expectations of others. This tool generates an arrow on a triangle, which represents expectations for the person in the role when things are going well and also when there is conflict for the role. An interesting and useful facet of this tool is that is facilitates the discussion of the relationship from some new perspectives such as what happens when things are going well in the role, but the person in the role is in conflict over something unrelated to the role?

Integrating multiple feedback tools

Because all these tools are based on Relationship Awareness, they fit together well and provide insights that make them worth more than the sum of the parts. For example, providing 360-degree feedback to a leader about the expectations of the leader is very useful. Yet when we add the dimension of feedback showing what people actually see the leader doing, we can compare the perception of the current situation with the expectations that, if fulfilled, could bring about a better situation. The Feedback Edition of the SDI is frequently combined with one or both Portraits to add depth and specificity to the feedback arrow. For example, if a person is seen as more Green on the Feedback Edition of the SDI, some Green strengths are usually found higher on the Feedback Portraits.

Facilitators who use these tools find new and insightful connections all the time. The tools are flexible enough to be adapted to new uses too. One we like is using the Feedback Portrait of Personal Strengths to set expectations – ask feedback providers to rank strengths based on what they would like to see in a leader, then compare it to the leader’s Portrait.

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