Some years ago, I participated in a 360-degree feedback assessment. I still have the report. It sits on the shelf, waiting for me to do something with it (realistically, it is no longer relevant to my current career). When this report was stealthily plopped on my desk I was in a dilemma about what to do with it. Without someone to facilitate the content in the report I didn’t know what my next steps were.
Hopefully, you’ll have a different experience when you participate in 360 feedback. Perhaps you’ll have someone who will guide you through your results and help you to discern the next steps.
If you don’t have that kind of help, some of the steps you can take include the following:
Spend time with your report: The report you’ll receive is complex, and often full of information that may seem to conflict. There isn’t any hurry in trying to understand it. Take your time, undisturbed, and go through the results slowly (perhaps more than once) to fully understand the feedback you’ve received.
Focus on what’s most important: As you spend time with your report, you’ll find lots of details – some that are important to your success and some that are less so. It’s easy to get distracted by those things that aren’t essential. You’ll want to take action on the most significant strengths and gaps so keep this in mind as you seek to understand the information.
Thank those who gave you feedback: Often an overlooked activity, thanking those who provided you with feedback is vital. They gave you the gift of information that not all leaders get to receive. It took their time, thought, and courage to support you with their ideas on what you do well, and where you can improve.
Let stakeholders know what’s next: Once you’ve spent time with your results, you’ll have some ideas on your developmental goals. Let your peers, direct reports, and manager know what you’ll be working on. This helps them to support you, hold you accountable, and to watch for the changes you’ll be making in how you lead.
Create a plan: Now that you understand what others observe as your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to make a plan. With your goals in mind, what action steps do you need to take? Write them down – an important step to help you become clear on them. This is often the place in the process where leaders get stuck. Try Feedforward if you need help to figure out your next steps.
Find someone to hold you accountable: Most leaders do better at achieving their goals when they have someone to hold them accountable. Do you have a mentor, colleague, manager or friend who can guide you and hold you accountable for taking action on your goals? Enlist them, if they are willing, and meet with them often to discuss successes and challenges in reaching your goals. If not, turn to a trained professional coach who does this for a living.
Take action: Maybe it goes without saying but just having something planned out doesn’t mean it’ll get done. Keep your plan accessible and review it often. Take the action steps you have outlined, and if they aren’t quite right for you, tweak them as needed. It’s always good to journal your experiences to help you to monitor your progress.
Celebrate success: You will be successful if you follow the steps above. How will you celebrate your successes?
Put your 360 results to good use! Take the time to understand the content of your report, decide what’s important to work on, enlist help, create a plan and stay accountable.