Enter the 360-degree review, an increasingly popular tool especially for evaluating senior executives. The 360 process involves interviewing the universe of people connected to you. These can include your direct reports, and people above, below and at the same level as you on the org chart. Interviews with customers might also be part of the mix.
As Amy Gallo suggests in her HBR.org post Bouncing Back from a Negative 360-Degree Review, results of these reviews are often more critical than what you would get with just a peer review. This is because the range of people looking at your performance represent a wider range of opinions and experiences, and are more or less anonymous.
"The truth is not always pretty, and receiving a negative 360-degree review can be upsetting, especially when the opinions are echoed at many levels" writes Gallo.She offers some great tips for evaluating and responding to such critiques. Here is her formula for figuring out what actually needs a response from you -- it's important to be selective, using three criteria.
- Is this a consistent problem? Has it come up in previous reviews and from different raters?
- Is the problem a fatal leadership flaw? Does it point to lack of integrity, authenticity, or honesty?
- Is it incongruent with your values? Does it conflict with the type of leader you want to be?
I took a leadership development course several years ago. The folks running the program did a 360 with people in my organization, feedback then used as part of my development growth program. Let me tell you, a 360 is a great cure when you think your britches are getting a bit big. I learned more from that exercise that any three standard performance reviews.
Have you been 360'd? What did you learn?