The following tips are from 360 Feedback by John E. Jones, Ph.D. and William L. Bearley, Ed.D. Drs. Jones and Bearley are experienced professors and consultants who have done substantial work in the field of employee surveys and 360 degree feedback with numerous public and private organizations.
There are five major reasons why it is important for leaders to ask for feedback on their traits, competencies, and behavioral practices.
- It provides answers to the vital self-management question, “How am I doing?” As leaders rise in the hierarchy they receive less and less honest information about themselves and 360 degree assessment and feedback can provide them with the information they need to take corrective action.
- Asking for feedback can be a guidance mechanism for continuous improvement. If the total quality movement leaves a legacy to future organizations, it will probably be the notion of steadily making efforts to improve everything that bears on the mission of the organization. For leaders to apply that notion to themselves, and serve as models for others, they must have reliable, valid, timely information on how they are perceived.
- The use of 360 degree assessment and feedback can help leaders validate their self-perceptions. Most leaders do not obtain their positions through random behavior, and they know it. They do, however, need honest feedback from others to test their own understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.
- It has been observed that people are the only animals capable of self-deception. We need feedback from trusted others in order to ensure that we are viewing ourselves realistically.
- Perhaps most important, 360 degree assessment and feedback gets people to invest in the effectiveness of leaders. Soliciting feedback from bosses, peers, subordinates, customers, and others actively involves them in a process of improvement, and they are more likely to support leaders who ask for feedback, act on it, and follow through with them afterwards.