360 implies ‘all around’ and that’s exactly why it is called 360 degree feedback – it is about giving someone feedback from other people ‘around’ them.
The person receiving the feedback completes a questionnaire to rate themselves, and other people complete the same questionnaire about them. The input from each person or group is then presented back to the individual receiving their feedback. The idea is to give them feedback from a number of different perspectives.
These other ‘raters’ are usually the person’s manager, their direct reports and a selection of colleagues. However, other people can also act as raters such as customers (internal or external) or any other stakeholders who the individual might interact with.
What are the benefits of 360 degree feedback?
360 degree feedback is extremely useful, in fact we think it is the most powerful developmental tool you can use. It is extremely effective at changing leadership behaviour and culture (read more) and can be used as an individual developmental tool, to support broader leadership development programmes, to identify training and development needs, and to support your talent management process (read more).
Above all, 360 degree feedback works by promoting individual accountability for behaviour change. We’ve all been on a course that “was interesting”, but then quickly got on with working in the same way that we’ve always done. 360 degree feedback is a more effective way to interrupt this as, when presented with specific feedback from other people, we are much more likely to take notice of that feedback and do something with it. It is this that promotes real behaviour change much more effectively than conventional training.
360 degree feedback is also significantly more cost-effective!