How 360 Degree Appraisals Are Used For Leadership Development

Colin Newbold, 1st October 2019 in Development, Feedback, Hiring, Human Resources, People Management, Testing

In order to be an effective leader, you not only need to hold your own perception of your strengths and weaknesses but also be aware of the impact of your behaviour on those that you lead. 360 degree appraisals help lend perspective to an employee’s strengths and weaknesses from the individual, team and organisation’s perspectives. 


 The Individual

An employee’s self-awareness is a huge part of their ability to be an effective leader, for instance, a lack of self-confidence would present a huge issue in a position of leadership. On the other hand, 360 degree appraisal can help respondents find out how others perceive them and uncover development opportunities they have not had the opportunity to face up to. In some cases, they may be completely unaware of the impact of their behaviour, so called ‘blind spots’.Inversely, it can help individuals reinforce and build on their strengths. Feedback allows individuals the space to learn and the independence to better manage their performance and career using quantifiable data. 


The Team

On a team level, the 360 degree appraisal increases communication between team members and the team leader, as well as between the team members themselves.  This helps to build stronger interpersonal relationships as it normalises giving and receiving feedback in an informal setting. A team with higher levels of trust and better communication not only makes leadership roles more appealing but also easier to carry out, as causes of conflict can be identified and solved more easily. 360 degree feedback analysis shares information about how colleagues want to be treated by each other.


The Organisation

For the organisation, 360 degree appraisals can improve the culture of the company by linking the individual survey questions to leadership qualities and organisational values. By making these values and leadership qualities more public, by reinforcing them through the completion of multiple 360 surveys across the business, it improves employee engagement and discretionary effort. This climate enables higher rates of career development and succession for employees leading to promotions from within. It builds an overall improvement in talent management generally.


Make Competencies as Specific to the Job as Possible

As the questionnaire items are fully adjustable, you can make the competencies specific to leadership qualities, behaviours and values you feel are relevant to your organisation. Being specific about the competencies that are needed for leadership roles allows you to see to what extent employees are building leadership skills as well as informing the employees on what strengths they need to build on and what weaknesses they need to weed out. 


Use the Feedback for Coaching and Development 

If people feel like they are at risk of losing their job, there may be less inclination to be honest about the skills and behaviours. Whereas, if you detach the 360 feedback process completely from the performance management/appraisal process, you give your employees the security of knowing that 360 is purely focused on development. This not only assures you that their questionnaire answers will be more honest but gives space to build respondents into higher achieving leaders using the behavioural skill gaps and information that you’ve extracted from the 360 degree appraisals. 


It is also important to continually revisit the data derived from the feedback process. Leaders aren't just formed overnight and remain leaders, it is a continual process of learning  and improving. As the organisation evolves, the business environment and team will also evolve; that’s why it's critical to carry out 360 feedback as a regular process. 



Skill Gaps for Leadership

Skill gaps refer to the performance deficiencies that an employee might have which lead them to not achieve the goals they had set for them: whether personal or targets relevant to the general goals of the organisation that they work for. 


Particularly in leadership roles, behavioural skill gaps are crucial as they will have a large impact on the staff surrounding them and the company too. In industries where the company objectives change on a day to day basis, skill gaps can present an even bigger issue as it is difficult for employees to adapt so quickly. This can be due to lack of training or job development. Similarly, if there is poor management or leadership, this will lead to worsening skill gaps. The implementation of 360 degree appraisals for leadership and management development can be a long term solution for skill gaps as the feedback contains analysis on the behavioural skills which individuals in the organisation are lacking in. 


If you’re interested in improving leadership at your company by investing in a 360 degree appraisal through click-360 or have any questions then contact us today and we’ll be happy to assist in any way we can. 


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