360 degree feedback is a key tool in assisting employees to maximise their potential. It provides feedback from a range of sources (such as Managers, Peers, Direct Reports, and Customers or Clients), offering many advantages over traditional single-source feedback. 360 degree surveys are increasingly used in many workplaces and can be a valuable tool when used appropriately. There is plenty of information available about how to give feedback to people on 360 degree surveys but it is also important to consider tips on how best to receive 360 degree feedback.
As a participant in the 360 process it can be a daunting prospect – your circle of colleagues provide you with feedback on your strengths and development needs. This information is collated in a report full of graphs, tables, and comments. To make the process worthwhile and hold value, it is important that the person leading the process and feedback is committed to the process. It is also important that the person receiving the feedback is committed and willing. Some points to consider when receiving 360 degree feedback:
Have an open-mind – before receiving feedback on your 360 degree survey, think about your current attitude towards it, are you open to receiving feedback? Try to prepare by starting with a willing and objective attitude.
Absorb the information – give yourself time to take in the information. Understand and process the feedback. Do not jump on particular points or feel the need to get into the next step straight away. Take the feedback home and think over it for a few days.
Acknowledge the results – celebrate the positives while also acknowledging the negatives, reflecting on these. You’re allowed to feel proud or upset or taken aback or even surprised. Consider the feedback with other information you have received, have you had similar feedback before?
What have you learned – consider the benefits of completing the 360 degree process. Do you better understand how your own behaviour is interpreted by others? Are your perceived strengths and development areas consistent with what others have said?
Set goals – you now have the information to identify and focus your professional development and learning opportunities. You may want to prioritise some goals or address any issues that may have been raised.
Other options – consider sharing the information you received or goals that you have set with those who provided feedback. It can be hard for colleagues to provide information and acknowledging their contribution to your development may be helpful in their understanding of how the information is used.
Next steps – set a date in the diary for when your next 360 degree will be. Follow up your development goal process in this next one and consider what measures you have taken to improve on both your strengths and development needs.
These points all seem relatively straight forward but when immersed in a document of feedback it can be hard to remember to take a step back and a deep breath. The key point is to have an open mind, take your time, reflect, and then look forward.