Exploring 360-Degree Assessment Tools for Leaders

Exploring 360-Degree Assessment Tools for Leaders

360 degree assessment tool is a multi-rater feedback instrument and process. Its purpose is to collect performance and behavioral feedback about employees from their various stakeholders. Stakeholders might be peers, managers, customers, vendors, and direct reports. By getting feedback from various sources, an objective view of the manager or leader comes along. This further helps in reducing blind spots and helps the leader develop in specific areas.

Disadvantages of 360-Degree Feedback Assessment

Like any other tool, even 360-degree feedback assessments for leaders and managers have its own set of pros and cons:

  • Subjectivity: This is the most common issue associated with 360-degree feedback. Often, the raters give subjective feedback as personal attacks instead of areas of improvement. This makes the process biased. Additionally, a study by Ostroff, Atwater, and Feinberg in the year 2004 found that the raters provided feedback based on their performance appraisal. If they received favorable feedback from the manager, they would give favorable feedback to the manager. This increases the chances of bias within the group.
  • Time and cost: Since it is multi-rater feedback, collating feedback from the raters and then creating reports take a lot of time. This limits the feedback instrument as we can only use it, limited leaders and managers, on a one-time basis.
  • De-focus from strategy: The competencies and skills dealt with during the feedback often don’t align with the organizational strategy. Therefore, this makes the managers and leaders go out of their way to work on feedback points. This extra effort required makes the managers and leaders lose focus on the development and give up soon.
  • Incomplete application: Once we collate the feedback report, we convey the same to the rates. Not many efforts are put into using that feedback report for best use. Lack of follow-up adds to this leading to the incomplete application of the feedback results.

In the context of these disadvantages of 360-degree feedback assessment for leaders, one very powerful tool is the Everything DISC 363 for Leaders assessment by John Wiley & Sons. It is a feedback tool based on 8 leadership dimensions and is used extensively for senior leadership teams.

Advantages of 360-Degree Assessment Tool

  • Reliability and Validity: The tool is based on a well-researched model that lists 8 leadership dimensions which make the psychometric properties of the tool excellent.
  • Comprehensive: The assessment has two parts – a self-assessment and rater feedback. We collate both the responses in a cob-web kind of a graph that indicates how the manager or leader sees themselves against the 8 leadership dimensions and how the raters have rated them against those same dimensions. This graph helps to identify gaps and blind spots in the areas of development. In case, the manager and leader need to know more details, the report also gives a break-up of how many stakeholders/raters rated them against a certain leadership behavior.
  • Objectivity through CommentSmart: A highlight of this tool that reduces the biggest issue of subjectivity is the CommentSmart feature. The raters cannot give long-winded, subjective responses. Since it is a behavioral feedback tool, the raters have to select the most appropriate behavior for the person in question.

Some more advantages of the tool:

  • Saves time: The tool is online and automated and therefore, reduced the cost in terms of time taken to generate the reports, etc. Each rater spends about 25-30 mins and completes the feedback. Prior to the feedback starts, the raters come together to sensitize and educate about the process which further reduces the chances of biases and errors in feedback
  • Development-focused and complete application: The report, additionally, highlights the top 3 areas of improvement and for each, provides 3 strategies for development. Precisely, the reason why the name of the tool includes 363 and 360. The areas of development and their related strategies are used by the trainer to help the leader progress and develop. The coaching sessions will have a set structure, follow-ups on action points, and progress reports. These make the use of the report complete and useful for the leader.

In conclusion, we must ensure that we take some time to choose the right instrument to conduct 360-degree feedback. This way, we can achieve the outcomes successfully.

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