Proven strategies for success after receiving 360 feedback

Now you’ve had your 360 feedback, how do you feel about it? Content? Elated? Disappointed? Whatever you feel, hopefully you received it well, meaning that you engaged in thoughtful conversation with your feedback coach and considered what you would do with the data.

Of course, you want to know how people rated you and whether you agree with them. But, what about your raters – what’s in it for them?

Everyone involved has an interest in the outcome, and some will be looking for a payoff from the effort they put into responding to your 360 survey.

  • One person may simply have a genuine desire to help you grow professionally. Another may be hoping you make a change in the way you work.
  • There could be a colleague who wants you to collaborate more with their team, or a direct report who wishes you would speed up your decision making.
  • Then, there’s your manager who has to deliver a business goal and needs you to prioritise your work in support of that objective.

Here are three things you can do with your stakeholders’ expectations in mind.

1. Look as Deep as Possible

We don’t get 360 feedback too often, so look as deep as possible. Explore the data, dive in, and consider every angle.

Think about all the people who rated you. What do they appreciate about you? What would they like you to do differently? If you are not clear on the meaning of anything in your report, take action to understand it:

  1. Start by examining the key messages and write them down on post-it notes.
  2. Sort the notes according to what’s important to address and what’s not.
  3. Prioritise the important items and think who could shed light on what they really mean.
  4. Set up times with two or three people who know you well to seek their input.

Remember you are on a mission to maximise your self-awareness, so overcome any temptation to justify yourself or blame your circumstances. In other words, don’t be defensive!

2. Follow Up with Your Raters

At the very minimum, thank all your raters for completing the 360 survey. Even better, tell them how useful the feedback has been and open up to them on the key themes and what you plan to work on. Being seen to take it seriously has significant benefits:

  • Your raters will feel rewarded for their effort and be likely to support you in the future.
  • People will more easily notice the improvements you make if they know what you are working on.
  • You will be a role model for others in self-development.

Ask those close to you for some suggestions on how you could be more effective. For example, if you have a difficult message to deliver to your new team, check in with someone who knows you (and them!) for ideas for the best approach.

Enlist an unofficial coach or mentor to help you monitor your progress. The colleague who sits quietly while you address the board on your proposed digital strategy could be your ‘eyes and ears’ on how well your presentation was received.

3. Leverage Your Strengths

Look at your feedback for what it is. Check the balance of positive and negative. Think of it this way, the positives tell you what to keep doing, the negatives tell you what to stop doing.

It’s tempting to go straight for negative messages, and even get stuck on them! But go easy on yourself. No one is good at absolutely everything. What matters is having the right balance of skills for the demands of your job. And, of course, managing any weaknesses that could get in your way.

If you want to excel as a leader, you need to fully understand your strengths and use them wisely. A Gallup survey found that simply knowing your strengths can boost your productivity by almost 8%. Imagine what you can do if you really put them to work.

So study your 360 report to identify which skills people have rated the highest:

  1. Make a list of your top ten.
  2. Recall how you used them when you were at your very best.
  3. Make a note of opportunities to apply them in the coming days and weeks.

Why are your strengths so important? We know from our 360 database that the most successful executives have five to seven strengths that rate in the top 10% compared to all other leaders.

Final Thought

A focus on raising your performance in a critical area of capability from talented to outstanding involves a personal vision of excellence and a commitment to continuous improvement… and this takes your development plan to a whole new level!

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Read more about the article Three ways to really benefit from your 360 degree feedback report
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Three ways to really benefit from your 360 degree feedback report

So you have participated in a 360 degree survey on your leadership skills, several people who know you well have rated your skills and you are ready to receive the feedback.

Well, are you? Ready, that is?

Maybe you’ve had feedback before and you know the drill. You’re going to sit down with a feedback coach and go over the results in your 360 report. Which of the following describes what you are feeling right now?

  • “Hopefully there won’t be any surprises and I can get back to work.”
  • “I need to find something to work on in time for my review with my manager.”
  • “I’m intrigued to know if people think I have done well building my team”.

Whatever your thoughts about 360 or your level of motivation to receive and act on feedback, there are career-building opportunities in your report. You just have to find them!

Look for Key Themes

What trends are you seeing in the data? Do people see you stronger strategically or operationally? How’s your ability to motivate others? Is there a perception you step up to conflict or shy away from it?

  • Look at the pattern of scores. Understandably, higher scores concentrated on a few skills will be evident for a linear career in one discipline, whereas a broader spread will result from a variety of diverse jobs and assignments.
  • Pay special attention to the highest rated items, say your top five or six. They sum up your ‘personal brand’ and are vitally important. Having the right strengths will open doors for you to new opportunities.

What do these themes say about your performance in your current role and the implications for your next move or future career?

Are you seen the way you want to be seen? What do you need to address to get you from here to where you want to be?

Read the Data

Quantitative data, in the form of actual skill ratings, are very useful. It’s always good to see the numbers! You can compare the highs and lows and see how people view your relative strengths and weaknesses.

High ratings across the board are a good endorsement of your overall ability. If, on the other hand, you have some very low ratings, people are sending a clear message that they want more from you. Don’t ignore them!

Qualitative data in the form of written comments are invaluable. If people acknowledge your strengths and suggest ways in which you could improve, it adds real depth to the feedback.

If this option is available in your 360 survey tool, make a point of asking raters to add comments when you invite them to participate in rating you.

Seek Out Differences

Some differences in the way others see you are to be expected. After all, your raters interact with you in different situations and each one brings their own opinion and perspective. If you have significant variations though, consider why.

First, look for the gaps between your ratings and those of others. This is the real biggie! Do you see yourself the way others do? If there are significant gaps, you could be at risk of seriously over or underestimating your ability.

  • Our 360 database tells us that most people have 3 or 4 blind spots – skills where they rate themselves higher than others do. What matters here is the size of the gap, the smaller the better.
  • On the other hand, hidden strengths are skills others rate higher than you. It can be a nice surprise to know what people value about what you do, especially if they’ve never told you!

Next, look for gaps between your raters or rater groups. Where they exist, explore the reasons.

  • Maybe you show different faces to different people, consciously or not. If people believe you favour some team members over others, think of the implications for your reputation as a leader.
  • If you have big gaps in perception within a group of raters, say your direct reports, think about what you need to do about it.

360 feedback is an excellent way of road-testing your level of your self-awareness.

Lack of self-awareness will inevitably hold you back or could even stall your career. It will certainly limit your ability to coach and develop others, lowering your effectiveness as a leader.

Final Words

Over the last decade we have observed that 360 feedback can have a very powerful impact on people. For some it’s confirmation that they are on the right path, with only a few tweaks needed in their management style.

For others it’s a game changer that offers a roadmap to make real improvements in performance or job prospects, or even rescue difficult relationships with other people.

We like to see 360 feedback as a GPS system for a person’s career. Used properly it will help you reach your destination. Even if it does occasionally tell you to perform a U-Turn at the next opportunity!

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Our response to coronavirus

As the impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve, LDN International is taking steps to keep our team members, valued clients and friends and the broader community safe and well.

We are following the World Health Organisation guidelines on workplace health, safety and hygiene practices, including social distancing. We are limiting our travel to business-critical local journeys and from Monday 23 March, meetings with clients will be held virtually until further notice.

In keeping with our business routine over the last year, we are maintaining our flexible working policy and will be using well-equipped home offices to stay connected with local and global clients across different times zones.

It’s business as usual for:

Executive Coaching – over the last six years we have coached leaders in more than 20 countries around the world. We are very pleased to have a proven, reliable virtual meeting platform that provides top quality audio, video, screen sharing and writing technology for a great user experience.

Assessment and Feedback – our range of assessments, from leadership capability and style to agility and potential, are fully available online. One-on-one debriefs are scheduled at convenient times for participants and three-way roundtable follow-up meetings with their manager and feedback coach are also held online.

A new approach for:

Certification Courses – we have embraced a new way to deliver the kind of group learning in the Korn Ferry solutions that many of you have experienced with us and continue to leverage. In May 2020, we will launch Korn Ferry-approved online certification courses in an engaging way that enables participants to interact with each other virtually.

Training Courses – some of you have taken advantage of the workshops we have developed for HR business partners and managers to successfully apply the Leadership Architect™ resources into performance and development discussions. Our plan is to convert these to our interactive, online platform so you can keep leadership development up and running over the next few months.

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Why leaders must read

At LDN we are avid readers of books and articles on all aspects of leadership success and development. We refer to many of them when we lead seminars and workshops, and are often asked to recommend readings on specific topics, our latest discoveries or our all-time favourites.

On the other hand, we regularly hear the lament “I’m just not a reader, I am simply too busy.” These words should sound a warning if they come from those who aspire to key leadership roles.

It’s not good enough in the information age to say they haven’t got time or just never got into the habit of reading. People who favour action over reflection, and today’s tasks over preparing for the future, will one day be left behind.

Staying on top of your game

Reading is essential to keep up to date on the latest trends in your field. Just as the body needs to be nurtured with good diet, exercise and sleep, the mind needs to be broadened with new ways of thinking. Time regularly set aside to absorb ideas outside the realm of everyday experience helps leaders build capacity to deal with new and unfamiliar challenges.

Personal development

Besides increasing general knowledge, reading has other benefits. It engages different parts of the brain that call on the ability to comprehend, imagine and develop ideas. Processing the written word is more complex than talking to a friend or watching a movie. Classical literature, in particular, uses more precise and elegant language than everyday conversation, increasing vocabulary and capacity for critical thinking.

Enhancing emotional intelligence

Reading about business makes good sense, but what about fiction? Keith Oatley, professor emeritus in cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, says that reading fiction enhances a person’s emotional intelligence through greater understanding of both the characters and human nature in general. A novelist himself, Oatley believes fiction offers the opportunity to experience emotions in books that people would not otherwise encounter.

Reducing stress

Reading can be a wonderful escape from the stress of everyday life. Research shows it slows the heart rate and eases tension in muscles in just a few minutes. A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that silent reading lowered stress by 68 percent, beating listening to music (61 percent) and taking a walk (42 percent).

Five tips for making reading easier

  1. Subscribe to an executive book summary service to access summaries you can read in about 10 minutes.
  2. Buy the book if you want to explore it in depth, in hard copy or soft copy for your electronic reader.
  3. Subscribe to business journals that carry articles relevant to your business or industry.
  4. Find a couple of websites that have articles and blogs on topics of specific interest to you.
  5. Share your reading with your team so you can challenge each other on decisions you need to make.


Continue ReadingWhy leaders must read