Most leaders do a pretty good job or they would have never become a leader. However, leaders get less and less honest information about themselves as they rise to more senior positions. The old saying “it’s lonely at the top” is very relevant to senior leaders today. 360 Degree Feedback Surveys (also known as Multi-Rater Surveys) have been used for over 20 years in American businesses to help leaders gather information to aid in their further development. I remember learning about their use and application when I was in graduate school in 1994. By that time, they was already a growing body of research supporting their effectiveness for developmental purposes. Interestingly, 360s seem to be less common in Southeast Asia even though their usefulness has been supported through years of research and practice here. A study by the Center for Creative Leadership showed that reactions to 360 feedback were more common among personality types across cultures than among different personalities within a culture. The individual must indeed desire to improve and appreciate the “gift” of seeing oneself as others see you.
Researcher Charles Rogel outlines four barriers to self-awareness:
- Naïve Realism: Each of us thinks we see the world directly, as it really is.
- Self-Serving Bias: Tendency to use or make dispositional attributions (put our own spin on) for success, and situational attributions (explain away or justify) for failures.
- Ego Defense: Tendency to repress or rationalize away information that threatens our ego.
- Negativity Bias: Tendency to focus all attention on negative feedback.
360 Feedback helps leaders overcome these barriers and see oneself from different perspectives. Feedback from various sources help us understand how we are perceived by others – regardless of our motives. Perceptions are, to a very large, extent realities. They truly the reality of the impact we have on others and how consistently we behave from group to group.
360 feedback provides a safe way for others to provide open and honest feedback across a wide variety of leadership skills and behaviours. It also reduces the fear and emotional barriers that exist when providing feedback face-to-face. Do you think that 360 feedback would help you or your leaders to grow? Straight Path Leadership can help you think through the right content and strategy to implement 360 feedback in your organisation. We have experience with off-the-shelf and customized 360 assessment tools. Contact us today to set up a free, no obligation discussion about accelerating your leadership development. Email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org