360 Degree Feedback for Leaders

360 Degree Feedback for Leaders

We all know how important leaders are to a business. Their ability to inspire and motivate their teams is an essential ingredient of business success.

Often in leadership development the focus is on what we want our leaders to improve, what we see as gaps in their knowledge and the results we want them to achieve.

If our leader’s success is achieved through their people, doesn’t it make sense to turn that around and ask what their team want from their leader?

360-degree feedback surveys are a powerful tool for figuring out exactly what a leader’s real development areas are. Every team is different, and every organisation is different, so leadership skills need to be adapted and developed continuously to achieve great results.

Making this a meaningful exercise can be challenging, so here are a few of our top steers:

  1. Let you leader choose the feedback participants alongside you

Typically, you will have 8 to 10 team members complete the 360. Choosing a balanced group is essential. Working together to select this group will ensure that the leader is engaged and receptive to the feedback.

  1. Brief the participants well

Sometimes the feedback in a 360 can be tough to take, so making sure your participants understand how to provide this feedback constructively is important. Phrasing questions so that they feed forward can help, using questions like “What would you like to see your leader do more of?”. Participants should also focus on skills and actions, not personalities. A personal attack in a 360 will never achieve good results.

  1. Have the leader rate themselves too

It’s always interesting to compare how we think we are doing against how others see us doing. This opens the conversation about why there may be differences in perception. Often leaders will establish an environment which motivates them but may not work for their team. Seeing these differences will help leaders realise that their team may have different needs from them.

  1. Make the feedback session a safe space

Its normal to be nervous receiving 360 feedback, and this can make your leaders defensive. The best way to approach this is to let them work through it in stages. Provide the report for them to consider, meet to help them work through it and discuss their thoughts on it. Then meet again to agree development areas. Having time to process the feedback can make it more meaningful. It can pay to use an external person or your HR Manager for the feedback session, as they can discuss the results dispassionately and the leader can respond honestly.

  1. Agree the development areas together

Just like any goal setting exercise, if your leaders have development areas chosen for them they won’t completely commit to them. This may mean that there are some compromises in their development plan. However, any development that moves them forward and improves their skills will benefit your business.

“If your actions inspire people to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams

 

Positive People have 24 years’ experience helping medium sized business’s develop great leaders. Contact us today to discuss how our 360-degree feedback surveys can work for you.

Verbal Warnings

Verbal Warnings – Do they have a place today?

As the disciplinary process evolves, it is helpful to reflect on your own organisation’s process and make sure it is up to date, current, fair and reasonable.

A key part of a traditional disciplinary process is the verbal warning – a step Managers can take when they believe an employee’s actions are serious enough to warrant more than an outline of expectations or a coaching session, yet not serious enough to warrant a Written Warning. Frequently these warnings are given by Managers without following a full process, and Companies often then mistakenly rely on them as the first step in a progressive warning process for misconduct.

A general rule of thumb for misconduct is that the progressive disciplinary processes should allow for three formal warnings for the employee prior to dismissal being considered. It’s important to consider whether a verbal warning forms part of the progressive disciplinary process for your organisation, and if so, specify this in your Code of Conduct.

For a verbal warning to be part of a progressive disciplinary process:

  1. It must be confirmed in writing, outlining the breach of policy and procedure and future expectations, and ideally have the employee’s signature
  2. You must still conduct an investigation, allowing the employee to respond after having the opportunity to prepare, have a support person present, and have access to all the information you have gathered about the misconduct

To be utilised and considered as part of a progressive process, the process you follow before issuing a verbal warning must be the same as if a written warning is given.

If you do not follow this process, then a verbal warning may be considered as part of the investigation into further misconduct but cannot be relied upon as one of the formal steps. It is instead background information confirming that the employee was aware of the Company rules and the impact of their actions.

If you do not follow this process, details of the verbal warning should not be stored on the employee’s personal file. Instead it would be considered the same as a coaching session, a letter of expectation or a Manager’s diary note.

For many Companies this requirement for a full process has meant that verbal warnings have become a thing of the past.

A more current approach is to streamline the process, doing away with verbal warnings altogether:

  • First instance of the behaviour – Informal discussions reflecting concerns. The Manager would be advised to keep “diary notes”
  • Second instance of the behaviour- Issue a Letter of Expectation alongside conducting a Coaching session driven by a Performance Improvement Plan (if appropriate). This is an informal process which does not require a formal investigation. The Manager outlines the impact of the behaviour and uses a coaching approach to help the employee identify ways they can improve. This is documented by the Manager and kept as part of the Performance Improvement Plan
  • Third instance of the behaviour – An investigation is initiated, which can then set off the formal disciplinary process, inviting the employee to respond. It also includes the other requirements of a full process. A possible outcome could be a first written warning.
  • Continuation of the Disciplinary process

Having a process which is sound, streamlined and allows for the employee to have an opportunity to change their behaviour is critical to minimising the risk of any comebacks on the process.  

This area can be a minefield, and is not easy to get right.

Positive People are experienced in developing performance management frameworks which are legally compliant, understandable and practical for both managers and employees. Contact us today and we can help you review yours.

360-Degree Feedback Surveys

360-degree feedback surveys:

Forming a rounded view

What is 360-degree feedback?

360-degree surveys are a tool that allows employees to receive performance feedback from their manager, peers, direct reports and other internal or external stakeholders. It provides a rounded view of the individual and usually results in employees accepting the feedback, as it is validated through coming from a range of people and angles.

People who are chosen as feedback providers are selected in a shared process by both the employee and their manager, with support from HR. Generally, they will be people who regularly interact with the employee who is receiving feedback.

What is the purpose?

The process aims to assist the employee to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to provide insights into where there are opportunities for development.

360-degree feedback surveys can help an organisation to:

  • Get better quality employee feedback that is more accurate and insightful than only considering feedback from an employee’s manager. Also, if there is a personality issue between the employee and their manager, multi-source feedback reduces the risk of this impacting their relationship and performance assessment
  • Highlight gaps in perception between the employee’s own perspective (demonstrated through completing the survey themselves) and the perception of others
  • Improve leadership strength by including employees in the leadership feedback process
  • Gauge the relative strengths of a team through gathering comparative peer related information
  • Identify individual and organisational development needs, so learning and development spend can be more effectively allocated
  • Help team members to work more effectively together – improving communication and processes
  • Empower the employee to take responsibility for their own development and career
  • Improve the level of customer service the organisation is providing where external stakeholders, like customers, are included.

How do you implement a 360-degree?

For a 360-degree feedback survey to have a positive impact on your organisation, it must be integrated into the learning and development goals of the business and your performance management and review system.

It’s also important that the feedback is shared with the employee by a trained coach. This allows the employee to understand the feedback by discussing unclear comments or seeking more information about the ratings and their basis. A good coach will also help the employee to focus on the positives and how they can build on their strengths, rather than dwell for too long on the negatives. Where areas for development are identified, a coach will support the employee to find solutions and make positive change.

360–degree feedback surveys are a powerful but under-utilised leadership development tool. Improve performance and ask us about them today.

We support businesses to implement effective 360-degree feedback systems. Contact Positive People today to discuss how we can help you introduce this valuable performance enhancement tool. info@positivepoople.co.nz or 09 445 1077

PositivePeople September 14, 2016 No Comments

Simple steps to build collaboration through feedback

As Managers it is easy for us to address performance concerns which focus on KPI’s and targets, with tangible evidence and clear and easy information to use. But what about concerns that centre on behaviour? Providing feedback on behaviour can be tough, as you are often dealing with emotions, perception and personality styles, all of which can make the task daunting.

Yet having these conversations, and addressing not only “what” somebody does, but “how” they do it is essential to creating a productive and collaborative working environment. The camaraderie and relationships between your team members have a large impact on their productivity and engagement, and all it takes is one team member to raise their voice with another for these relationships to be strained. Addressing these concerns is hard, but imperative.

The longer frustrations are left, the bigger the issue they become. Leaving an unacceptable behaviour unchecked can also cause that behaviour to become embedded in the way your team interacts. It is easier to correct a behavioural issue when it is new, but far more difficult when it is an old well established and apparently condoned behaviour.

If you know something isn’t right but don’t address it, it won’t change.

Some simple steps to get this right are:
1. Address the issue or behaviour as soon as possible after you notice it
2. Do this privately with the individual
3. Be specific about the behaviour you would like to change and the situation
4. Outline the impact of this behaviour on the team or other employees
5. Ask the team member for their point of view to understand what happened and why
6. Use a coaching approach to ask the team member what they could do differently in the future
7. Provide them with support
8. Set a time to follow up with the team member
9. Provide them with positive feedback for making a change

Team dynamics are important for any Manager, and it takes practice, patience and focus to build a high performing team. Providing feedback is essential so that you can shape and build the team you want and need to reach your goals.
Positive People have a long history of providing leadership development that can help your Managers to have the confidence and skill to provide constructive feedback and improve the performance of your team. Contact us now to discuss how our training can help your Managers get the best from their teams.