The anticipation of 360 degree feedback can be pretty intense. If you’re like most of us, once you receive access to your feedback report you pour over every little detail. All of the strengths highlighted are of course nice to see, however despite the glowing feedback in some areas your eye still catches on the lowest ratings and you dwell on the sometimes achingly detailed written accounts of your shortcomings and development needs. It is human nature.
4 Tips for Beating the 360 Feedback Heat
Once you receive your feedback it is important that you sit down with your manager to discuss your results and create an action plan for development. To ensure you arrive at the meeting cool, calm and collected (and adequately prepared), follow our 4 tips below. Remember that the goal of the 360 review discussion is to work collaboratively with your manager to analyze results, surface critical themes, and tackle your plan for moving forward with development actions. Try not to sweat it.
Do your homework to prep before the meeting. Review your 360 feedback report and be prepared to discuss with your manager. Ask yourself:
- What themes do you see across the data? For example, consistency across both quantitative and qualitative data, similarities in behavioral examples of your performance, correlation between self and others’ ratings, etc.
- Where are their discrepancies between your own ratings and others?
- Where do you stand on your overall strengths and development needs?
Because you have had time to digest your 360 feedback, you should have ample time to work through purely emotional reactions and be able to adequately process the information prior to the meeting. Despite this, be wary of negative emotional reactions during the meeting and ensure you maintain professionalism throughout to maximize productivity with your manager.
- DO: Listen, remain open-minded, and brainstorm ideas;
- DON’T: React defensively to feedback including blaming, denying, and rationalizing.
Remember that we all have areas where improvement is necessary, and that this is likely the goal of the process. Ask yourself what you hope to personally achieve and how and when you will hold yourself accountable for development. Collaborate with your manager to decipher the take-home message from your feedback report and brainstorm a detailed action plan and timetable for change.
- Focus on only 1 or 2 areas that will be moderately challenging for you to change.
- Commit to change by a given deadline, with interim performance check-in’s.
We all have lots of ingrained habits and despite hearing it from half the company we sometimes still find it difficult to fight through our old ways. Obtaining ongoing support from others who can contribute honest face-to-face feedback about your progress on a regular basis will ultimately make you more accountable. Research tells us that having this type of social support framework in place is one of the key goals to success so don’t skip it!
If it fits with your culture, consider starting a social change group where everyone posts their goals and updates with accomplishments, encouraging notes, and engaging and helpful dialogue. Read more about 360 feedback and social support – 360 Feedback Goes Social.
With these tips in hand, there is no need to fear the 360 performance review discussion. Improving in areas where you are seeing consistent feedback from the team will go a long way towards enhancing your working relationships and enable everyone to collaborate together more effectively. Remember, others are also receiving feedback and looking to make changes so do your part.