When does 360° feedback create behaviour change?

 In Articles

By providing feedback and insight on your strengths and development needs, a 360° feedback process is an opportunity to reflect on how the impact of your observable work-place behaviours is experienced by others. It affords an opportunity to learn how other people see you. It is not a snapshot of who you are but, rather, of how you come across.

To leverage the benefits of receiving 360° feedback, the recipient of this feedback should ideally review the content of their report in conversation with a coach and, thereafter, review the data with their manager as a springboard to a development discussion. When both the coach and manager support this learning opportunity, a 360 review and development discussion can be one of the most energising, enabling, and constructive conversations you’ll ever have.

But a 360° feedback process alone does not necessarily yield behaviour change: a client’s readiness to change is also a contributing factor. Research points to factors influencing a client’s resistance or acceptance of feedback. Feedback orientation reflects clients’ receptivity to feedback, including their:

  • level and capability of self-awareness
  • comfort with feedback
  • tendency to seek feedback and process it mindfully
  • sensitivity to others’ views of oneself
  • belief in the value of feedback
  • feelings of accountability to act on the feedback, and
  • organisational culture and climate.

Current research on best practices in the use of 360° feedback suggests that results can be optimised if you understand the following principles:

  1. Organisations that implement a systemic approach to talent development with support from a manager, as well as follow-up development activities tied to performance improvement, will have the most effective outcomes in leadership development.
  2. Hold the participant and line manager accountable for creating, implementing and completing a development plan.
  3. Track and monitor progress on the completion of the development plan.
  4. Provide individual coaching to assist in interpreting the multi-rater feedback.
  5. Link the 360° feedback intervention to a performance-management process.
  6. Target competencies for 360° feedback interventions related to strategic business needs.
  7. Build in mechanisms to evaluate progress of both the completion of development plans and effectiveness of newly practiced behaviours/skills.
  8. Feedback should be facilitated by either internal or external facilitators or the participant’s manager to ensure that the report is clearly understood and any potential negative reactions are managed.

Emotional intelligence is defined as the accurate perception of one’s own skills, strengths, and impact on others. The highest performing managers and leaders are perceived to have significantly more “emotional and social competence” than other managers. Lower social and emotional intelligence (e.g. in a 360° feedback report this may be displayed in over-estimation of own strengths relative to how others rate you) could be a predictor of executive and management “derailment” and poor performance in one’s job.

The evidence supports feedback as a necessary and important condition for successful behavioural change. It is most useful for those clients with moderate to low levels of self-insight, or who express a strong motivation to improve, demonstrate poor performance on teachable skills, and have a learning versus performance goal orientation. A bias towards action can translate self-insight and awareness into goal implementations. This infers the deliberate practice of applying new behaviours to augment what they do well, and acquiring new habits or modifying existing ones to become more effective. The more specific, actionable and focused these are, the more tangible the behaviour change.

It seems clients are most motivated to use 360° feedback for development when they are conscientious, achievement oriented, extroverted, possess high self-efficacy, have an internal locus of control, a learning goal orientation, and express low anxiety. Behavioural change is dependent on readiness to change and the enhancement of self-efficacy.

For more information on 360° feedback at all levels within your organisation, please contact us: admin@thornhill.co.za

Recent Posts