Effective and accurate feedback is a critical component of a successful performance evaluation program. An efficient manager uses them in conjunction to set performance goals, as the important thing is to let the team members know what is working and how to improve. Feedback may originate from many different sources: from managers and supervisors, performance assessment, and customers to name a few. However, certain elements are required to ensure effectiveness.
“A man ought never to trust another man’s evaluation of a third man’s disposition.”Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
Perception is the keyword here. Humans create their own perceptions about an incident or information, with their grey cells linking up to create their very own insight regarding that event. A manager’s perception may not match with the team members, as they are different persons viewing the same incident from different angles. Nobody is flawless, and to reach out to the root of that flaw, it is needed to look beyond a singular insight. Under intense situations, minds naturally settle for quick conclusions, as the rising pressure diminished the time to perform a factual analysis of the situation.
Under pressure, the subconscious may inadvertently filter those specific pieces of information that may contradict with other’s perception. The consequences arising out of such a situation may vary, ranging from simple operational errors to financial losses, but becomes crucial when it comes to performance appraisal. To minimize such lapses, the crucial thing is to consider multiple viewpoints and perceptions, as enlightened in my previous article “The Significance of Collaborative Management: Framework for Success“. This is where 360° Feedback comes into play.
It is worthwhile to note that, people are all different, and leveraging those differences requires collaboration. 360° feedback takes into account feedback from all levels, including managers, peers, and subordinates of an employee or team member, and in certain cases, even external consultants regularly involved with the team members. The aim is to preserve the level of anonymity while providing a clear picture of the team’s overall strengths and weaknesses. 360° feedback focuses on developing the following factors:
Per human nature, one tends to react better to positive feedback, but that doesn’t imply that information should be sugar coated. Feedback must be accurate, complete and factual. An evaluation must reinforce what the employee did right, and identify areas for improvement. As a superior, a manager would want to increase the self-awareness level of the team members through constructive criticism, showing the path to progress, rather than constant criticism, which might fall on deaf ears. The key concept is mirroring to progress.
A measured holistic approach will ensure better communication between every level of an organizational hierarchy. In a 360° feedback, all opinion matters, whether relating to competencies or behaviour or how individuals perceive each other, regardless of position. This encourages open communication among all levels, which will surely help create a better and desired understanding among all.
Improving work environment
Freedom of communication will create a better bond between managers, peers, subordinates, and employees, which will directly lead to an enhanced work environment. As an employer, this is what a superior should strive for, to make sure of a productive yet holistic work culture.
Encouraging personal growth
Appraisals always encourage personal development. Implementing the 360° method in an organization will help the employees grow in a very efficient way. This makes the team members aware of individual strength and weakness, focusing on overall areas of improvement, which proved crucial in an overall evolution of the organization.
The first question that any superior ponder upon is, how to invoke a sense of accountability among the
360° feedback is the answer to this dilemma. As it is a system that ensures consisted standards are being used to evaluate all members of the organization. If a superior becomes too conservative and do not encourage evaluation from the subordinates, it is bound to have a negative effect on overall performance. This may seem obvious, but it is important the team members understand the relevant factors that affect the evaluation procedure. So, it is important to communicate this when providing feedback, outlining how behaviour may affect workplace effectiveness.
The 360° feedback approach helps team members to enhance individual performance levels. Teams may be more accurate about how team members are actually performing than supervisors. Multi-faced feedback makes team members more accountable to each other as more input is shared on each members’ performance. Thus, a well-planned process can improve individual performance by leaps and bounds.
In conclusion, with the emergence of collaborative management and distributed accountabilities, people need to challenge their viewpoints more to get the most accurate picture. If effective feedback can be designed into a performance management program, both individual and team performance will improve, which will make the organizations more effective.
With an effective feedback process in place, our peers will reach greater goals.
Vianney D. Lejeune is an end-to-end IT Service and Program Manager with over 10 years of experience in IT Consultancy, regarded as talented and result-focussed by his peers.
His company manages its own IT Services to deliver efficient and quality services related to the Internet for small businesses, and IT support for end-users.
Supported by chosen and skilled IT contractors, including off-shore support, the company is expanding towards other businesses on an international scale.
Further information and references are available on request.