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360 (Multi Rater) Feedback

Recently I was running a workshop for mangers who have employees taking part in a 12 month learning journey. Part of that journey is a 360 assessment. One manager asked a great question. "As my team member prepares for the 360 who should they ask to be their raters?"


Who to ask? Most 360's include the manager, peers and subordinates for the person being rated.

Sometimes customers and or suppliers can be included as well as those who interact with the manager who don't fall into the above categories (finance, marketing, HR, Supply chain etc.).

The idea is that the up, down and across perspectives are an all round (360 degree) view of the employee. BUT how do you select who to ask. To ensure you get well rounded feedback think about the following:

Who in your peers do you get on with best, least best - choose both of them. Who else in your peers thinks most like or dislike you - choose both of them too.

Who in your subordinates do you struggle to manage? Who do you find easy to manage? Again choose both.

If you're including customers or suppliers again get a balance of those that are "hard work" and those who you like to wort with.

That balance in all rater categories will help you avoid "echo chamber" feedback where you only hear what you want to , or that reinforces how you see things already.

The "Ask"

So when you have decided who you are going to select as a rater, it is worth the time to send a note to them so they know to expect the request. But how to phrase the request? My best practice is be practical. Tell them you would like their feedback on your performance to date and that while the numerical scores they give are an important part of the feedback, the examples they cite in the free text areas are super helpful for providing context to those numbers. Also thank them for the time they are taking.

The Debrief

If you have done the above steps well, then you should have a rounded set of information both numerical and narrative, but what to do with them?

First read it through end to end, remember almost all feedback has an element of truth to it, so put your ego to one side and read to understand, not to defend. Have a highlighter and pencil to hand. Make notes, underline as you go... What words jump out at you? What questions do the words and ratings raise in your mind? These will form the basis of a discussion with whoever you debrief the 360, or form the basis of your self reflection.

Wherever your self rating is significantly lower than that your raters or a particular rater group, pause to ask why that might be? E.G. Does your boss rate you higher on communications skills than your peers or your direct reports? Not bad, not good, just an insight into how you come across to different groups. Next ask what the long term impact of that behavior might be for you, your team, your peers and your boss.

Do this with every category.

Then review what are your blind spots? (where your scores are significantly higher than your rater groups). Pause to reflect and again ask what are the implication s if you continue to behave in this manner? What are your hidden strengths - how can you leverage them?

Which rater group or groups are you mostly in synch with? Reflect on the drivers of that.

With the above completed you are ready to discuss with your coach.

If you're self reflecting ask and answer (I find writing the answers particularly effective) the following questions:

What 3 things surprised me the most?

What 3 things confirmed what I already knew

What do I want to do with the insights I have had?

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