360 degree feedback

Feedback at the end of the year is now key for everyone. Whenever we make great strides in our lives, whether it is a new job, time back in the university or engagement to a longtime partner, we are looking for confirmation and feel the urge to share our ideas with others.

360 degree feedback

If you have the choice between equally viable options we go through the pro-cons’ analysis in our head and sometimes even feel a sort of cognitive dissonance. This comes in with an incredibly unpleasant feeling of tension and uncertainty that is hard to get rid of, making decisions harder. Feedback is just one way to give a little more expression of our own feelings.

How do you as a leader or a manager know whether you’re doing a great job or not? Is this the right approach or not? Either self-reflection with the whole day in front of you or just plainly asking your team. The proactive method of asking a team member is a choice of a lot of senior management these days and is called the 360 degree feedback. It is an effective tool for every manager should think about.

What is a 360 degree Feedback?

The 360 degree feedback has been developed from the principle of multiple perspectives and provides an assessment of skills and services of an executive from a variety of sources including an intrinsic perspective. It is based on the assumption that development and learning progress without constructive feedback is not possible. Prof. Clive Fletcher from Goldsmiths College, University of London sums up the purpose of the 360-degree feedback as follows:

“The concept of 360 degree feedback makes a lot of sense and, if used well, should have a great deal to offer. It seems to suit the move towards the less hierarchical, more flexibly-structured and knowledge-based organisations of the future.”

In the chart below you can see the comparison between the one-dimensional feedback and the 360-degree feedback. Every manager has their strengths and weaknesses. This type of feedback needs to be seen as an opportunity to explore the potential for change and to verify the status quo and not just pass on negative criticism.

Areas covered by this mechanism comprise of the perception of leadership as a model, communication and fairness, entrepreneurial behavior. Often team dynamics are created which manifest themselves over time and can be identified only with difficulty. The 360-degree feedback helps uncover grievances and initiate appropriate changes soon. But this type of feedback is complex and has its own advantages and disadvantages, listed as follows.

Advantages of a 360 degree feedback

1. Multiple perspectives

A big advantage of 360-degree feedback is essentially structure and an all round perspective. The all-round evaluation by different groups of people gives the manager gets an overall picture of their impact and point out areas where is still room for improvement. It is also a good way to compare the self with the perceived image. In addition, a 360-degree feedback gives the individual groups the feel that their opinion is taken into account.

2. Efficiency

Possible problems can be discovered faster and more specifically. Be open to question rather through the perspectives from the team members and managers interviewed. The narrowed down issues can be discussed further in meetings as well.


Under unconditional anonymity, the executive receives a 360-degree feedback that showcases a more objective picture of his/her strengths and weaknesses compared to what comes across in a personal conversation. There is often the threshold set by individuals when giving feedback especially when addressing awkward issues, with sometimes an extremely high fear of negative consequences. This is different in a 360 degree feedback.

Disadvantages of a 360 degree feedback

1. Acceptance

The effectiveness of a 360-degree feedback is heavily dependent on the acceptance by the employees. It must be made clear from the beginning that no disadvantages will come up for them and the main goal of the process is to actively change something.

2. Implementation

The most comprehensive feedback is of little use when it does not work well in the implementation. Derive the necessary steps in advance, hire a coach who will discuss the results with you. An executive who is left with the results alone can quickly draw the wrong conclusions.

3. Post feedback reactions

It is important to be transparent with the implementation and the results of feedback. Frustrated employees can quickly see this as an act of revenge when they get the feeling that the executive is not really interested in changing anything.

Have we convinced you? A 360 degree feedback is good and an intensive preparation for a manager but requires proper handling. Once done right, it may be worth gold for every manager.

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