What is 360-Degree Feedback and How Can it Make You a More Effective Leader?

Post by Building Champions on May 24, 2018

All leaders have blind spots. And without feedback, many of them never notice their blind spots; they simply drift through their careers and settle for less.

But feedback allows leaders to identify blind spots, discover potential for growth and become the balanced, self-aware leaders they want to be.

That’s why Building Champions Executive Coach Dan Breene is passionate about coaching leaders through the Leadership Circle Profile™ 360-degree assessment.

The assessment gathers feedback from a leader’s colleagues to provide a clear view of who they are as a leader. Then, executive coaches like Breene coach each leader one-one-one to break down the results and build a plan for personal and professional development.

“It can be transformative,” Breene says. “The assessment gives clients clarity as to some of the things that they were experiencing — things that were creating frustration because they weren’t where they wanted to be. This process helps them identify challenges they can work on to be more effective.”

 

The Power of Perspective

From 1830 to 1832, Japanese artist Hokusai created a series of paintings depicting Mount Fuji from dozens of locations, in various seasons and weather conditions.

One of the paintings shows the mountain from a nearby city on a sunny day; another depicts it from the sea during a storm.

Together, the “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” paintings evoke a powerful message: Perspective changes everything.

This is particularly true for leaders, like Jay Johnson, a General Manager at Daimler Trucks North America. As the head of service parts distribution for the company, he’s responsible for more than 700 employees in warehouses and offices across the United States and Canada.

Johnson knows that if a leader wants to make a positive impact and achieve exceptional results, they need to be able to understand how their boss, teammates, direct reports and customers are responding to their leadership.

Working with his executive coach, Johnson recently had an opportunity to undergo a Leadership Circle Profile™ 360-degree leadership assessment. More than a dozen of his colleagues filled out a survey about his leadership to provide a holistic, 360-degree profile of how they see him as a leader.

Johnson says the experience was eye-opening — much like seeing Mount Fuji from several different viewpoints during his time in Japan.

“It’s all about perspective,” he says. “The 360-degree assessment exposes things that maybe I didn’t think of or see. It highlights things that I may know about, but I may not have understood as far as their impact.”

By working closely with his coach, Johnson has used his assessment report to shift the way he communicates, delegates and empathizes with his employees. And he’s making a greater impact as a result.

 

What is the Leadership Circle Profile™ 360-Degree Assessment?

360-degree assessments — also referred to as 360-degree feedback, 360-degree evaluations or 360-degree surveys — collect feedback from multiple perspectives to provide a holistic, 360-degree view of a leader’s strengths and development opportunities.

This can include feedback from past and present peers, direct reports, supervisors, customers and key stakeholders, as well as a self-assessment.

There are many 360-degree assessments to choose from, but the coaches at Building Champions rely on the Leadership Circle Profile™ because it not only shows participants how their evaluators have ranked them, but how they stack up against other high-performing leaders around the world.

The creators of the Leadership Circle Profile™ believe that every leader is driven by their inner beliefs and assumptions, says leadership development consultant Andy Phillips.

Phillips is a Senior Consultant for Full Circle Group and The Leadership Circle. His team has developed the assessment to help leaders shine a light on the underlying patterns that drive their behavior so that they can move from reactive leadership to creative leadership.

“Leadership doesn’t just show up in the workplace; it shows up wherever you go and whatever you do,” he says. “The assessment gives people a whole new awareness of who they are, not just as a leader but as a person.”

Combining feedback from approximately 18 different evaluators for each leader, The Leadership Circle Profile™ examines 29 different dimensions of leadership and assigns a percentile score for each, based on The Leadership Circle’s database of more than 100,000 global leaders.

Phillips says the Leadership Circle Profile™ 360-degree assessment opens the door for leaders to have courageous conversations with their evaluators and continue to learn from them.

As they grow to understand how people perceive them, they can adapt areas of weakness and leverage areas of strength to lead effectively, achieve their goals and make the greatest possible impact.

 

How to Prepare for 360-Degree Feedback

The Leadership Circle Profile™ 360-degree assessment can be a powerful tool — but it only if the recipient is humble, open to feedback and hungry to learn about how to be a better leader.

“Effective leadership requires a certain level of humility to enable you to change,” Breene says.

For a leader, learning what 18 colleagues really think about them can be a challenging experience. But if they’re able to swallow their pride, it can lead to incredible growth.

Before signing up for a 360-degree assessment, a leader should be ready to lean into the potential discomfort and learn from it.

But no matter how prepared a leader may be, the volume of data and information in a profile can be overwhelming at first. That’s why many leaders choose to make the most of their feedback by working with an executive coach.

When Breene sits down for an initial 360 coaching session, he recommends that leaders allow the profile to simply wash over them.

“I tell clients not to focus on any one characteristic at first, because it’s just going to overwhelm them,” he says. “The most important thing is for them to get an overall sense of what the evaluation is telling them. Then, they can put the profile aside for a few days and let it all sink in.”

After letting the information settle, Breene coaches his clients over the next six weeks, choosing one or two leadership dimensions to focus on at a time.

As his clients begin to recognize their limiting beliefs and assumptions, they learn how to change their behaviors and move forward as more well-rounded, effective leaders.

 

Become a More Effective Leader

The Leadership Circle Profile™ 360-degree assessment can help leaders increase their awareness, improve their communication, maximize their effectiveness and make a positive impact on their teams and organizations.

By working with an executive coach through the assessment process, leaders can avoid getting bogged down in data and stay focused on adapting their weaknesses, leveraging their strengths and building a base for lasting growth.

For leaders, perspective can make all the difference. Learn more about our Focused 360 Coaching Package.


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