GIVING 360-DEGREE FEEDBACK – TIPS FOR MANAGERS AND COACHES
We like to think that our feedback reports at Halo Feedback are simple and intuitive, but it sometimes helps to have someone walk through the feedback to help with interpretation and action planning. This can be a manager, representative from the Learning or HR team or an assigned coach.
Here’s some guidelines and tips to prepare for the discussion and deliver the feedback.
Prepare for the Feedback Discussion
As a feedback provider:
Make sure you are familiar with the purpose and importance of the feedback process. Why was the feedback process initiated?
Ensure you are familiar with the format and key data points within the report.
Highlight key insights and themes you might want to discuss with the participant.
Familiarise yourself with the development resources and tools available to the participant. Confirm next steps and follow up actions with those running the 360-Degree feedback project.
Clarify the role of other stakeholders including the manager, HR and other resources such as external coaches.
Make sure you have the logistics set up including date, time, room (if face-to-face), contact details (if by phone), and/or technology (if conducted virtually through Zoom, Teams or another platform). Whatever approach you take, make sure the feedback is conducted in a quiet, confidential setting, free of distraction.
If the participant is given access to the report ahead of the discussion, encourage them to review the feedback report ahead of the discussion
Share the Feedback
We suggest structuring the feedback around three steps.
1. Establish the context
- If you are not familiar with the participant’s background, take a few moments to step through their career highlights. This will give you some insights into their key experiences and achievements.
- Ask the participants to share any insights and/or reflections from previous assessments and/or feedback processes – what has previously been identified as key strengths and development areas. You might also like to ask them to share their own perspective on the areas they consider key strengths and areas for improvement.
- Ask the participants to share their current and future work priorities so that the feedback can be considered in the context of these priorities.
- If the participant has already been given access to the report, ask them to share any initial ‘high-level’ reactions.
2. Review the feedback
Start by reviewing high level trends in the summary circumplex or competency list. Does this reveal a pattern of strengths and areas for improvement at the competency or capability level?
Given the high-level trends take a closer look at the section showing the Top and Bottom items. This will help pinpoint specific behaviours that might underpin the high-level competency results. Consider any patterns at the item or behavioural level across different competencies. This section can help identify specific behaviours to leverage or those that might need more focus.
- Review the results for blind spots and hidden strengths. Blind spots are behaviours where the participant’s perspective is higher than other respondents. They often appear when the skills or behaviours aren’t necessary for an individual’s current job, or when an individual has demonstrated them but has never had the opportunity to receive feedback on them. Blind spots also can come from not accepting feedback for improvement when it’s offered. Take the time to make sure the participant fully understands any lower ratings, even if they disagree with these ratings. Hidden strengths are areas where the participant’s ratings is lower than others. These can be areas to leverage more.
- Review the open-ended comments which can often provide a strong indicator of holistic strengths and development opportunities. As you review the comments, look for common words and themes. The open-ended comments can also add context to the specific competency ratings.
- Once you have considered the high-level themes, start to explore the detailed results by competency and behaviour. By design, a 360-Degree feedback process collects input from multiple people (e.g., manager, direct reports and peers) so that participants can compare how those with different perspectives rate them on the same behaviours. The range of scores within a particular respondent group may also shed light on differences within a respondent group such as direct reports. It is not necessary to review every single item and data point.
Plan for Development
- Focus on areas that are important to the business and role.
- Consider the developability of certain competencies and behaviours. Some competencies and behaviours will be harder to develop and require more effort to change.
- Consider how to adjust different behaviours for different groups. It’s not always a one size fits all approach.
- Don’t lose sight of strengths. Research shows that a small improvement in strengths may have more impact than trying to change weaknesses.
- Reflect on personality attributes and drivers which might be influencing your behaviour. These are often more difficult to change and therefore may demand better personal management.
- Consider what is achievable – in some cases it may come down to managing certain behaviours rather than trying to change or develop multiple skills and behaviours?
- Target specific behaviours. Don’t take on too much. Sometimes the adjustments needed are very specific rather than trying to change a whole competency.
- Consider a variety of approaches for developing competencies including a mix of formal and informal development methods.
- Create development tension with clear targets and milestones.
A Few Final Tips
As you step through the results link the insights back to the opening conversation about context.
Show empathy, particularly if the results are not overly positive or different to what the participant was expecting.
Be willing to take a view – sometimes you will see things that the participant does not see.
Be supportive – remember this is a growth and development process.
Follow up on the feedback and the development action plan.