The Power of Multi-Source Feedback in Leadership Development How often do the leaders you work with consider their reputation? Do they take time to consider how they are perceived by others and how their behaviours are helping or hindering them? Consider the leader who is motivated to provide team members with autonomy and control, so she avoids touching base and asking how work is progressing. Her motivation is well placed, but her behaviour may come across as a lack of interest or engagement in her team members’ work and careers. 360 assessments have been utilized in leadership development to help leaders examine their reputation and the perception of their behaviours from multiple points of view. They can be exceedingly powerful tools when used with purpose and implemented carefully. Why Use a 360 Assessment? Every leader establishes unique relationships with others throughout the organization, and these relationships are impacted by factors such as expectations of the job and different levels of power. Given the variety of relationships a leader builds and maintains, they can be expected to display different behaviours based on the context and role of the person with whom they are interacting. Perceptions of a leader’s behaviour will then vary, and 360 assessments provide leaders with feedback on how the variety of people they work with see them. This information provides a greater depth and understanding of a leader’s reputation. Consideration of reputation and the increase of self-awareness that flows from 360 assessments, or multi-source feedback, provides a number of benefits: Efficient way to gather feedback from multiple sources Allows individuals to examine their reputation based on the variety of relationships they maintain in the workplace Can help individuals better leverage their strengths and target developmental needs Provides the opportunity to gather impactful information from a variety of sources while maintaining confidentiality – you get more and better feedback than you would by going up to people and asking for their thoughts How to Use a 360 Assessment 360 assessments offer significant benefits, but need to be implemented properly for these benefits to be realized. There are two broad topics that must be considered if you are to realize the advantages of 360-degree feedback. First, you must clarify the purpose for using the assessment and communicate this throughout the organization. Best practice is to use these forms of assessment solely for developmental purposes, where the feedback obtained is used to help leaders clarify their strengths and identify their most pressing developmental needs. Second, given the sensitivity of the information provided by 360 assessments, confidentiality and access to data must be set with clear parameters. To get buy-in from leaders and raters, you need to protect the confidentiality of the raters and their feedback. Best practice is to ensure that the 360 assessment report is held as private as possible, and that the 360 results are only shared with the participating leader’s knowledge and consent. 360 assessments can provide a powerful addition to your leadership development work by giving leaders an opportunity to receive feedback from multiple sources and consider their reputation. The leader who seeks to provide autonomy and control can identify which adjustments to her approach are necessary for her team members to feel they are given the appropriate level of independence but also the support and engagement they need. To read a recently published whitepaper examining in-depth the benefits and ways to use these tools together, click here. Or, for a briefer exploration of the subject, read our blog post on using these tools together. To learn more about our new Psychometrics 360 assessment and how it can support your development work, click here.