How To Avoid the 360 Degree Appraisal Time Bomb!

If you are looking for some ideas on the criteria which you can use to rate a person against during a 360 degree appraisal, then check out the Manager To High Performance Leader self assessment. I've used that tool, with great success with several teams. However ... do read this article to make sure that you have all the elements in place to set your appraisal up for success.

What we'll cover in this article:

  1. The organization design elements you need in place to ensure success of the program
  2. The elements that cause 360 degree appraisals to fail
  3. Why you, the leader should welcome your 360, and how to get the most from it

The Organization Design Elements You Need For Success

For your program to be completely successful you would need at least one or more of the following organizational design practices in place:

  1. An organization culture that encourages personal growth and development
  2. Performance Improvement Feedback is seen as a time to learn and grow (not as criticism) by all members of the organization
  3. The Senior Leadership team is committed to developing individuals, and views the feedback process as the chance to boost people's performance (not looking for problems to be gotten rid of)
  4. Systems and principles in place that enable each person to 100% trust that feedback will be used in a positive way
  5. All people involved in the 360 degree appraisal process, have been well trained on the purpose, and use of, the information gathered during the process
  6. All people involved in the evaluation process, have been well trained in giving and receive feedback
  7. After a leader receives their feedback, they have available to them, either strong support/coaching/guidance/mentoring from their direct leader or one-to-one coaching from a trained professional - who can help him or her grow and develop and make whatever changes are needed.
  8. That the organization is focused on enabling individuals to regularly use their strengths, and minimize the impact of their weaknesses ... not trying to make each individual master all aspects of their role.

The 360 Degree Appraisal and Evaluation Processes Becomes A Time Bomb When:

360 degree appraisal time bomb

  1. The feedback process is directly linked to pay and/or promotional decisions
  2. Team members aren't educated in how to overcome the, 'hit to the ego', from negative comments
  3. The feedback isn't linked to (and customized to suit) the organizational values and goals
  4. The 360 degree appraisal and evaluation process does not include regular follow-up or linkage to development plans
  5. Poor implementation due to lack of training of people involved in the process (feedback givers and receivers)
  6. People see the 360 degree performance appraisal process as another 'chore' they have to get done in order to get management off their back
  7. Individuals are required to provide feedback to, too many others, and become swamped by the process
  8. Feedback is provided by people who have limited exposure to the individual
  9. Team members don't see any real change within a reasonable period of time, after the feedback has been provided

Make sure that most of these elements, mentioned above, have been covered off, before you decide to go ahead with any 360 process.

Why Leaders Should Welcome The 360 Degree Appraisal

360 degree feedback and performance appraisals frequently get a bad rap ... and often justifiably so! However, the reality is, we are all being evaluated every day ... whether you care to think about it or not. Your reputation is on the line each and every day. If you are self-aware then you will have a good feel for what others think of you.

But sometimes your perception of your performance, and your impact on others, can be at odds with others ... your leader, your peer group or the people who report to you... see it. And, aren't you better off knowing that?

Knowledge is power. Knowing how others see your impact can enable you to choose to make changes that make you more effective and successful.

Keep in mind too that you shouldn't expect to be strong at everything ... that is idealistic and will get both you, and your organization, in serious trouble, if that is what you are shooting for.

Rather your 360 degree appraisal, should enable you to look at the areas where you are weak, and make sure that they don't become critical and cause you to crash and burn.

For example, if you are seen by your work colleagues as rude and arrogant - you need to know that and hopefully take steps to soften that behavior ... that type of behavior will eventually railroad your career ... even the best performers are eventually set free if they can't create and/or set the tone of, a culture that inspires others.

However, say the feedback is that you lack attention to detail. Sure, this is something that you could improve, however, it would be a waste of your time and effort (and the organization's) to spend a lot of time and focus on trying to make you strong in this area. You are better off putting support systems in place, to make sure that this weakness is taken care of... and spending more time, focusing on making sure you are using your areas of strength, on a regular basis... this way both you and the organization will win.

Even if, you find yourself caught up in a 360 evaluation process that has been poorly planned and implemented - be bigger than the flawed process. Take charge of making best use of the what you discover, so you can expand and grow and step into more of your potential.

Please feel free to contact me if you wish to find out more about how to customize a 360 degree appraisal and evaluation process to suit your organization's goals and values.

Several of the leaders I coach, on a one-to-one basis, have come to me following 360 degree performance evaluations and we find that with coaching they are able to really make the most from their feedback. You can read more about business leadership coaching here.

Read about no rating performance appraisals here.

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