LSA Global Insights Newsletter: 8 Reasons Leaders Need 360 Feedback

September 22, 2018

8 Reasons Leaders Need 360 Feedback

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It is difficult to improve performance without feedback about what's working, and what's not.

360-degree feedback, a formal, structured process for soliciting feedback from coworkers, has grown in popularity. Done right, 360-degree feedback provides valuable insights that individuals typically cannot gain on their own. Not long ago, however, critics were calling 360-degree feedback a "performance-reviewing fad." 

Today, some estimates suggest 90% of US employers rely on 360 evaluations -though not all successfully. Let's start with why 360 feedback works and when it fails.

Why 360-Degree Feedback Works
Unfortunately, our own perceptions of ourselves are rarely accurate or predictive. Leaders need feedback from those around them (typically their boss, peers, direct reports, and others in the organization) if they want to gain an accurate picture of their strengths and weaknesses.  

Employers typically rely on 360-degree feedback to diagnose a variety of organizational issues, including turnover, productivity dips, lackluster morale, and stagnant growth. The idea behind 360-degree feedback is to collect feedback from different points of view including colleagues, supervisors, subordinates, partners, and clients. 

Done right, 360-degree feedback allows a person to get something that is often difficult to acquire - increased self-knowledge about how their behavior is viewed by those around them. This helps to shed a constructive light on key strengths, relevant weaknesses and potential blind spots. The process itself can help improve trust, communication, team development, career development, performance management, and self-awareness - a critical component to effective leadership and team work.

When 360-Degree Feedback Fails
For those of us with experience in 360-degree feedback, we have painfully learned that if 360-degree feedback isn't carefully executed and followed up on, it can do more harm than good to individuals, teams and those charged with administering and coaching to the feedback. 

Done wrong, 360-degree feedback can create problems when people are:  
  • Not getting feedback from at least 8-10 raters to maximize the reliability of the feedback
  • Unprepared or ill-equipped to hear and act upon candid feedback 
  • Left to sort through the feedback on their own without experienced support, context or a plan for improvement 
  • Not held accountable to follow-up actions to improve behaviors
8 Reasons Leaders Need 360 Feedback
Done right, however, 360-degree feedback offers powerful advantages to leaders looking to raise their level of performance.

Voice of the Customer
"I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership expertise and the quality of advice that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help assess and develop high performing leaders."
Tracy Esposito | Director | Zynga

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned