1. Know why it’s important to administer a 360
Self-awareness only goes so far. You can’t work on behaviors you don’t know are problematic, and you could be surprised about what others see as your strengths. None of us has a complete picture of ourselves. There’s no way to see the back of our head without a set of mirrors, trusted friends, or colleagues to tell us. We need that reflection to get a 360 degree vision.
Leaders will frequently believe that people understand their vision and expectations, but in a 360 they’ll discover that this may not be true. Research by Inscape Publishing (now part of Wiley) shows that many leaders need a reminder and some pressure to “encourage others to be a bit more creative and adventurous in their thinking.” A good 360 review can deliver this type of constructive and actionable message to a leader.
2. Senior executives need to be on board
The senior leadership members need to show their support for the reviews and demonstrate that they understand the value of the results and have taken action based on their own reviews. Lack of executive team support will likely cause the exercise to be seen as a waste of time for participants.
3. Explain the reason for the 360
Both the raters and the one being rated should have a good understanding of the reason they’ve been asked to participate. We recommend communicating that the Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders review will focus on developing leaders by giving them insights into how others see them and that the results will not be used for appraisal. It’s a development tool, not a chance to get back at or suck up to a boss or colleague. If people have experienced the misuse of a 360, you might need to over-communicate that this is an opportunity for growth and understanding.
4. Show evidence of confidentiality
Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders makes confidentiality easy through its CommentSmart feature. Raters select their answers from a list of relevant phrases. Since raters aren’t able to leave open-ended comments, it provides anonymity and ensures that answers are constructive to the leader being reviewed.
The entire collection of reviews is stored on a server owned by Wiley, not the participating organization so no one internally has access to the raw data.
5. Review what your 360 measures
A 360 review should result in actionable and constructive feedback. It should offer patterns of behavior to note. Honest, straightforward feedback is essential for the process to be meaningful.
For example here’s what Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders raters will see:
- 72-item Leadership Behavior section about how the leader tends to lead
- 24-item Leadership Requests section asking which leadership practices you’d like the leader to do more of
6. Make the results easy to understand and act upon.
We suggest hiring a trained executive coach to walk through any 360 with the leader. Coaches can offer support and follow-up. They can also hold the leader accountable for working on a development plan.
Results should be easily read by the leader and not just a data dump. Everything DiSC 363 for Leaders gives you 360 feedback plus three strategies for development—telling you where to spend your energy to improve your leadership effectiveness.
7. Don’t forget a wrap up
Reviews of any sort take time and the people involved will want to know that their efforts mattered. Discuss the process with everyone involved. Ask what worked and what changes should be made at each phase of the process. Thank participants. Let the organization know if more 360s will be used in the future or if this program will be repeated to track the development of those reviewed.
by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the DiSCProfile.com team