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:
- Start by examining the key messages and write them down on post-it notes.
- Sort the notes according to what’s important to address and what’s not.
- Prioritise the important items and think who could shed light on what they really mean.
- 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:
- Make a list of your top ten.
- Recall how you used them when you were at your very best.
- 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.
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!