I recently saw a client’s 360 degree review compiled by direct reports, peers and seniors.
Because my client is a leader the focus of the review was obviously leadership. There were 60 questions split amongst the components of leadership. It took the people providing the feedback about 90 minutes to complete the questionnaire.
The nature of the questions was typical:
- Does the employee effectively solve problems?
- When this employee works with co-workers, what interpersonal skills does he demonstrate?
- How would you recommend that the employee improve his interpersonal and relationship building skills?
- Does this employee exhibit leadership qualities in the roles he plays in the company?
When we analysed the review, despite the detailed nature of the questions, the most outstanding area where improvement could be focussed was in my client communicating more with his direct reports. Given he is an introvert, that was no surprise.
For the most part the diversity of answers to the detailed questions left no clear path to follow other than the one we recognised.
I felt that the questions were too numerous and too suggestively detailed to enable effective feedback.
With my cynic’s hat on I felt it was more about justifying the fee for the feedback system.
I asked my client to then go to his direct reports, his peers and his direct supervisor and ask them to email him their answers to these questions:
- What four things do you most want me to keep doing?
- What four things do you most want be to start doing?
- What four things do you most want me to do differently?
- What four things do you most want me to stop doing?
The answers that came back gave us six very specific areas to work on. There was also confirmation of strengths. All the answers were both specific and useful.
The questionnaire took on average 45 minutes to complete.
The people providing the feedback felt very much more satisfied with the quality of their feedback.
It was self managing.
Very simple and very effective – try it yourself.