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Performance ManagementNovember 16, 2022

How to give 360 feedback to your boss, peers, or team members

360 surveys

360-degree feedback is a powerful tool for professional development and for improving the employee experience. So, how do you give 360 feedback in a constructive way?

360-degree feedback is a powerful tool for professional development and for improving the employee experience. So, how do you give 360 feedback in a constructive way?

360-degree feedback or simply, 360 feedback is a holistic performance review system that includes feedback from bosses, peers, and subordinates to create a comprehensive performance report. It highlights employee strengths, clarifies weaknesses, incorporates different points of view, and does all of these anonymously. 

85% of Fortune 500 companies use 360 degree feedback to reduce bias and get holistic reports. 360 surveys, also known as multi-rater feedback, are a powerful tool for professional development, and also for personal development.

In this article, we'll discuss how to give 360 feedback in a constructive way, to your boss, to your peers, and to members of your team.

Giving 360 feedback in a valuable way 

Implementing 360-degree feedback helps Human Resources to better understand the individual strengths and weaknesses in the organisation, and to identify where there may be need for additional training or support. A 360 feedback system provides valuable insights for the individuals involved, and the results from 360-degree feedback surveys can provide guidance for development plans and other ways to improve employee performance.

Things to keep in mind for a successful 360-feedback implementation:

  • Encourage raters to focus on positive aspects that can be reinforced and improved upon because the goal is to evolve with each piece of feedback

  • Use both close-ended questions for quantifiable results and open-ended questions for constructive answers

  • Only focus on the specific groups of people the person interacts with to avoid feedback explosion. These can be bosses, peers, and direct reports.

  • Encourage raters to be specific, and concise, but detailed enough so the person doesn’t require more explanation

  • Make the 360 review process anonymous

  • Use 360-degree feedback software to automate and expedite feedback collection, and analyse the results

How to give 360 feedback to your boss 

When giving 360 feedback to your boss, you don't simply offer feedback—you deal with egos, relationship complexities, and career prospects. It's important to be honest yet diplomatic. If referencing an incident, do not provide ancillary information that is not needed and if possible, provide a solution to a problem as well. 

Remember that good leaders thrive on constructive criticism, so long as the feedback doesn't feel personal or accusatory. 

360 feedback examples for managers 

1. Appreciating their help

Last week when I was struggling to close the lead over call. X took over, calmed the prospect down, closed the deal, and later explained to me what needs to be done in such situations. I appreciate how X handled the situation and gave me the confidence to move on to the next one. 

2. Ponting out a flaw

I understand X is under a lot of pressure lately but we have made some real progress regarding the website architecture. We rarely brainstorm ideas together these days and it would be great if X can schedule 1:1 huddles with team members to review work at least once a week.

How to give 360 feedback to your peers 

Peer appraisals are a different beast. Many employees feel torn between being an honest friend and a critic. It's important to be honest yet kind and to remember that constructive feedback is valuable to the recipient. Be thoughtful about your wording and use a professional tone to help them gauge their performance. 

360 feedback examples for peers

1. Highlighting a strong point

X has incredible communication skills and often helps other team members to resolve communication issues. It has improved our workflow and productivity. Last week X stayed late to help a couple of us in the meeting and closed a new client.

2. Pointing out a weakness

X is very tolerant of errors when a project is handed over to him. While a certain degree of errors is expected, he'll reach new heights in his career with a more detail-oriented and thorough approach.

3. Appreciating job knowledge

X has a solid knowledge of key job responsibilities that has helped our team deliver quality work on a day-to-day basis. The fact that X often act as a subject matter expert on new topics is greatly appreciated.

How to give 360 feedback to employees 

When bosses give 360 feedback to employees, it's important to balance the positives with negatives and offer an encouraging view vis-a-vis the job responsibilities of the employee. A constructive and encouraging approach, emphasizing strengths and pointing out opportunities for improvement in an empathetic way, will leave ideally employees feeling seen, validated, and inspired.

360 feedback examples for employees 

1. Point out the wins

Last week, X's work under pressure stood out for me. The way X handled the data breach and fixed the SQL query was an example for the entire team. Great job finishing the project before deadline. 

2. Show how they can improve

X's overall performance and contribution would benefit from better responsiveness and communication from X. An effort to respond to urgent emails quicker will help the team plan better.

3. Highlight their potential

X has great leadership skills that are often visible when their team is under the pump. X stays calm, communicates with their peers, and has a an eye for details. 

Key takeaways

Employees that help other employees grow within the company rely on certain rules for effectiveness. Having a proper strategy that answers what you want to achieve from 360-degree feedback, how employees can incorporate the feedback, and why your company culture needs this should help you frame relevant SOPs. 

With anonymous feedback, how you word the feedback is just as important as what you say. Training employees in how to write concise, detailed, and objective feedback will create the best outcome. Each person needs to take the time to word their responses thoughtfully since the goal is to elevate others, not put them down. Asking meaningful questions also goes a long way in improving feedback quality. Open-ended questions stimulate feedback and allow you to gather more qualitative and unfiltered opinions. 

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