Do a 360 and Improve Your Career

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ReviewsSome people swear by them, others shun them. We’re talking 360-degree reviews.

Usually 360-degree reviews include feedback from your work subordinates, peer/colleagues, and supervisor along with a self-evaluation.  But you can also do one on your own utilizing, professional colleagues as well as family and friends.

But choose wisely. “It is possible to use friends and family members to conduct 360 degree feedback reviews.  However, one needs to be aware of who they invite to participate.  Being thoughtful of who to invite will help ensure effective feedback is received.  Additionally, it is often difficult for family and friends to give honest feedback, because they want to be helpful but do not want to deal with the repercussions of hurt feelings,” explains Ashley Gary-Roper, certified career coach and HR business partner with Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America.  “Therefore, I recommend creating a Goggle Docs form or using Survey Monkey to create a survey for family and friends to complete anonymously.”

Even though you will have people who know you personally doing the review, this can still aid your workplace behavior. ‘Most individuals want to separate their professional life from their work-life.  However, because we are the same person whether we are at work or at home, opportunities at home can also translate into opportunities for improvement at work.  Moreover, seeing a different perspective regarding personality traits or characteristics provides an individual the time and space to evaluate stated traits to determine if they are helpful or detrimental to their professional life,” notes Gary-Roper.  

So how do you conduct your own 360-degree review? “The first step is determining the purpose of the 360-degree review.  What does an individual hope to get out of completing this review? Next, the individual needs to determine how they are going to receive feedback,” explains Gary-Roper.

Then you need to organize a way to collect the feedback from your reviewers. “Options include a simple email and response or a survey. Once the methodology of collecting feedback is selected, the participant needs to determine questions they want answered. Using a free third-party survey, questions are often provided,” says Gary-Roper. “If not, the individual can just create a list of questions they would like answers to.”

Email the questions to your reviewers with a set of deadlines for responses. The questions should cover such topics as leadership, interpersonal skills, problem solving, and motivation, for example. Sample questions could include: Do I exhibit leadership qualities? If not, how can I improve my leadership?; What interpersonal skills do I demonstrate?; Have you ever experienced any problems with dealing with me interpersonally?; How can I improve my relationship building skills?

Some of the feedback may be difficult to take, but remember not to take it personally. The negatives are just things you need to work on.  “Sometimes individuals will hear things they do not like, and it is up to them to own it and be honest with themselves. The time and space for self-reflection will be key in this process,” Gary-Roper points out.

But the responses can help you pinpoint areas that are lacking and areas that are working. “360 feedback is powerful and an eye opener for most people who experience it. I have seen people who have blossomed as a result of their feedback and moved up in their career, and I have seen others who have made dramatic behavioral changes for the better,” says corporate talent expert Angela Nuttle CEO of Corporate OD Strategies.

Corporate OD actually offers services for people who want to do their own 360-degree reviews though its website Theschoolofexecutivepresence. “You can sign up for a 360 Assessment package where we handle all the delicacies (contacting the ‘raters,’ creating a safe environment to provide feedback online or through live 360, debriefing the results, and coaching through ‘the grieving cycle,’ then development planning),” explains Nuttle.

Consider trying a 360-degree review–it might change your professional life.