Tips for First Time Managers: Implementing a 360 Feedback Platform

Colin Newbold, 14th December 2020 in Development, Feedback, Hiring, Human Resources, People Management, Testing

Moving into a new role is daunting at the best of times, so you should look at what tools you can use to become a great manager and you can start by considering some of our best tips for first-time managers.

Not only do you need to do your own job, but you also need to understand your team, their workload and how you can help them realise their potential. Good management is key to any company, but this is easier said than done, so what can you do to become a great manager and team leader?

What Is a 360-Degree Feedback Platform?

This unique application helps everyone within the company to stay focused on the key behaviours necessary for success...not so much the technical/functional skills but the people skills.  Sometimes known as the ‘soft skills’ we actually think these are the ‘tough skills’! 360-degree feedback reports show the  strengths about different individuals as well their areas for development.  It helps managers better understand each employee as individuals, their wants and needs) and it also gives employees a better understanding about their managers...especially if ‘checking out’ and ‘checking in’ are used.

You can also see ambitions and any hidden potential as well, which will enable you to give constructive feedback and grow as a team. All of this is clearly laid out and easy to interpret and can offer great advice for first-time leaders, with plenty of visual statistics and infographics, with privacy and confidentiality being of the utmost importance.

Why Are 360 Feedback Apps Useful for First-Time Managers?

When you become a manager for the first time, there is so much to consider and this tool helps to consolidate feedback in one place. The reality of a first-time manager is being able to address difficult issues in a constructive way, to enable growth and be able to have a productive and valued team. This 360 feedback platform is a great step towards achieving these managerial goals.

A lot of first-time managers will work in organisations where a feedback process is in place, but it’s important to question its effectiveness and communicate that internally in order to constantly optimise your processes, which any new manager guide will tell you.

What to Expect from This Platform and How to Use It

A 360-degree feedback platform has a simple questionnaire interface and smooth enrolment process and so implementing it is quick and easy. When selecting a tool, you should consider how easy it is to implement to make using it as smooth as possible. The questionnaire on this application is easy to use and has ‘free-text comments’ as well, which helps you to gather both qualitative and quantitative data.

Before you start to roll out the 360 platform, we recommend that you personally invite employees for a conversation first, rather than the first point of contact being the automatic email that the platform sends out.  We call this the ‘awareness briefing’ and it should lay out what the process looks like, the questionnaire being used, a sample report and the timelines.  Very important is the rater invitation conversation...the briefing should lay out a script for this, or at least clear guidelines.  To the extent that participants (those at the centre of the 360, the ones getting the report at the end) have these verbal conversations with their feedback providers, so too will the quantitative and qualitative results be improved.  The briefing also gives you a chance to address any fears, concerns or downright scepticism that participants may have.

When first using this tool, the reports can seem a little daunting to first-time managers, if you have never dealt with this sort of a tool before. So when it comes to digesting 360 reports, it can be useful to get a 360 coach, someone who is HR / L&D accredited in your organisation, or seek out someone who has experience in interpreting this sort of data.  If you are entrusting this work to internal staff, it goes without saying that they need to be properly equipped (competent, confident AND motivated) to perform this often sensitive task.  It is worth remembering that the more senior leaders inside your organisation will almost certainly feel more comfortable with a coach who is external to the organisation...someone properly qualified and experienced to handle feedback at this level and where confidences can be shared.  We can help you with this where required through our bank of international coaches.

It’s important to remember to seek help and advice as a first-time manager because now you are in a position of responsibility,  you will be held accountable for your actions.

Can 360 Feedback Help You Be a Better Manager?

Instead of going on a first-time managers training program, you can use this incredibly powerful and insightful tool, as 360 feedback can in many ways help you to achieve your goals. It allows you to understand how your direct reports feel about you, the organisation and their role.

By measuring individuals, it lets you objectively see and assess employee traits in one place, while keeping track of notes, progress and goals over time. It can also give you insight into how each employee fits within a team and within the organisation as a whole.

It is worth noting that as a tool it can only do so much, so make sure you are clear about what you want to measure and you can correctly interpret and use this data for growth and progression.  The optimal time to run the 360 with first-time managers is between 3 and 6 months into their tenure...this way their raters have enough data to go on.  And please don’t overlook the value of running them through a second 360 some 9-12 months later...after they have had time to implement the changes called for in their earlier report.

If you’re looking to improve the performance of your team (or one team in the organisation) 360 feedback isn't always the right intervention.  We can help you with a bespoke intervention known as the TeamQ, which is inspired by the work of Patrick Lencioni (‘The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team’).  This shows the team leader’s answers to a set of carefully devised team behaviours compared to those of the team members.  It is where there are significant differences in those perceptions that development opportunities will present.  We supply a comprehensive resource guide to enable a skilled facilitator or team coach to turn the team from being dysfunctional to becoming a high-performing team.  We can of course supply you with an experienced team coach in addition to the software.

How Can 360 Platforms Benefit You as a First Time Manager?

This software can give you clarity on leadership capabilities, managerial skills, values and competencies, just make sure you are clear and concise about the questions you want people to answer.

Don’t overlook the fact that 360 degree feedback can be very affirming for first-line managers...they will often receive positive feedback for many of the behaviours they simply took for granted.  Sometimes they will be surprised at how significant those things are to their colleagues and team members.  As well, they will doubtless receive feedback on some aspects of their behaviour which staff would like them to adapt. It can also be a catalyst for change within the organisation and it is a great way to make things happen. As a manager, it offers you the chance to continually grow and develop, including your team and senior leaders as well.

Through nurturing talent, becoming more efficient at what you do while improving employee satisfaction will make all the difference to your business. It will enable you to take on more clients, win more customers and improve the service you are offering them, while simultaneously achieving more deliverables. 

By opting for an ongoing 360 feedback process, rather than planning to do just one, you can continuously review and improve what you do and get the most out of this software.

To learn more about what we do, discover more tips for first time managers or ask any questions about our 360 feedback platform, don’t hesitate to contact us today.


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