Workhuman Editorial Team
9 min read
Feedback from one perspective is never enough to assess someone’s overall performance. To fully understand and assess an employee’s performance, you need to gather feedback from different divisions and aspects the employee deals with at work. Enter 360° feedback.
With 360° feedback, you get a more accurate perspective of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. This can be a great tool when it comes to performance management and the overall employee experience. But, when it comes to sharing feedback with your boss, that can be a bit scary, especially if they aren’t great at receiving feedback.
In today’s article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about 360-degree feedback, along with some examples on how to give 360 feedback to your boss that will strengthen the relationship and communication between you two.
Let’s dive in.
360° feedback is a review process built around gathering different perspectives and feedback on employee performance.
It can give you an idea of how other team members view your performance in your work environment. It also helps employers get a better understanding of how the employee is doing in different aspects of the work environment.
In other words, it’s a form of data collection geared towards professional development that provides a well-rounded perspective of individual contributors' strengths and weaknesses. 360° feedback entails gathering insight from a multitude of people at your job and beyond. This includes anyone that you interact with in any aspect of your work, like partners, peers, direct reports, clients, suppliers, and even your managers.
360° feedback is usually reserved for individual employees rather than teams. However, there are some circumstances where an entire department might receive 360° feedback.
No employee is exempt from giving or receiving 360° feedback. Basically, it’s a crucial method for self-evaluation that helps you improve productivity and performance on various aspects in the future. That’s why you might find yourself in a position where you have to evaluate the skills of your manager.
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It’s important that you realize how 360 feedback is vastly different from employee performance reviews. After all, a performance review isn’t anonymous and will usually involve a one-on-one conversation with your manager.
On the other hand, 360-degree feedback gathers anonymous feedback from anyone you might’ve worked with. This way, it can help start a conversation about an employee’s skills and behavior within the workplace.
Typically, a performance review is done to evaluate employee performance and the employee’s measurable achievements. So, the manager can determine if their employee deserves a promotion or a raise in the future.
Alternatively, 360-degree feedback isn't a way to give incentives or appraisals. It’s a way for employees to receive constructive criticism and recognize their own skills as well as the areas in which they need improvement.
On the whole, 360 degrees feedback is simply an insight into the employee’s unmeasurable skills, such as leadership, communication, and time management.
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After understanding what to include in your feedback, here are some 360° feedback examples to help you write your own feedback:
“The positive environment you created in our workspace made an astounding positive impact. It boosts productivity and work relationships. This helped us reach our target goal easier.”
“I faced many obstacles during our last project. I believe that we wouldn’t have finished the project on time without your help. I’d like to thank you for taking the extra mile to help us with the supplier issue. Furthermore, I’ve learned a lot from how you handled the situation, and this experience will be extra useful in future projects.”
“Managing a big team takes a lot of effort. I really appreciate the style of management you use with our team. It helped us through many rough situations.”
“My team and I appreciate the clarity of instructions you provide with any task. Many projects seemed complicated, but due to your explanation and instructions, we were able to understand all the tasks clearly.”
“I was surprised that we had a miscommunication problem during our last project. I understand we had a massive workload on our hands, which put all of us under huge pressure, and that might’ve been the cause of the problem. However, thanks to your guidance, we were able to finish the project in time. In any case, I wish we could work more on our communication in the next project.”
“I’ve been working on multiple projects during the past period. With the tight schedule we have for each project, I’m unable to maintain a work/life balance. I would use your advice on how to handle the workload you’ve assigned to me.”
“Your instructions are clear, and they guide us through the entire task. However, I gain more experience when you allow us to figure out the tasks on our own.”
“We are very grateful for the strategies and the plans you're making to improve our work. We only wish to receive some motivational support and recognition for the work we do.”
“Your leadership and guidance have helped our team to significantly improve and reach our goal. You’ve inspired our team to do our best work and helped us through many obstacles.”
“I understand you’ve been busy lately, but can we maybe have more regular meetups during the course of this project? We need to make sure we’re going on the right track as the client requested.”
It can be daunting to give feedback to your boss. You don’t want to be on their bad side, and you also don’t want things to be awkward.
Here’s what you should know before giving your 360-degree feedback:
When giving 360-degree feedback, you should know which areas you should praise and which negative aspects you should point out
Sure, you’re in control of how many details to include in your feedback, but here are the basic traits you should give your input on:
Naturally, your boss should be a great leader. The leadership skills of your manager include their ability to provide direction and structure without giving orders.
A good leader is also open to conversation and provides as much clarity as possible.
So, positive feedback for leadership skills can include:
While negative feedback can include:
Having problem-solving skills is crucial for any managerial position. For that reason, your feedback should include your boss’s approach to conflict resolution.
A good manager should approach problems by:
On the other hand, the inability to solve problems is evident by:
You should always be able to communicate with your boss. If your manager is usually unavailable to you, you should include this in your feedback.
A manager can raise employee engagement by
Alternatively, poor employee engagement looks like
It can be hard to give 360-degree feedback to your boss. After all, they’re usually evaluating you, not the other way around.
Still, your honest feedback is crucial. So, for your feedback to be constructive without making things awkward, you can follow these steps:
The most important thing when giving feedback is to consider the receiving employee’s reaction. Just because you’re anonymous doesn’t mean your delivery should be harsh.
In addition, the tone of your feedback can impact whether your manager responds positively or negatively to it.
If you’re unsure where to start with an empathetic tone, try reversing the roles in your mind and consider how you would react if you received the feedback.
While 360-degree feedback might be mandatory, you don’t have to participate in it strongly. To explain, you should consider your position in relation to your manager and whether there’s sufficient trust.
Additionally, if you’re a new employee or if you’re unsure if your feedback would be well received, it’s best to limit your negative feedback and restrict the details you share.
Your feedback should be as objective as possible. You shouldn’t give personal thoughts or experiences. Instead, your review should be reserved for only professional aspects.
For example, you shouldn’t comment on any colleague’s choice of clothing, especially your boss. Also, 360-degree feedback isn’t a place to bring up your disagreement with a particular managerial decision.
It goes without saying that your review shouldn’t consist of negative feedback alone, but you should also praise your manager for their leadership skills and any other aspect you find respectful.
Of course, you should be honest with your positive feedback.
You should also lead with positive feedback to soften the effect of any negative comments in your review.
Not only does this motivate your boss, but it also shows you’re not taking advantage of the 360-degree feedback to criticize and focus on their mistakes.
Most people are reluctant to give negative feedback as they’re unsure how to phrase it in an appropriate manner. Yet, it’s completely normal to include negative feedback in your review.
However, you should ensure that your aim is to resolve issues and improve areas of conflict. So, make sure to explain why a certain weakness can lead to problems in the workplace.
For example, instead of saying, “Mr. John doesn’t listen to employees,” you could say, “I’m unable to share my ideas and concerns with Mr. John”
Employee feedback can feel like office gossip if not backed up by evidence, especially if your concern isn’t shared by others.
That’s why it’s important to give examples of both positive feedback and negative feedback.
To explain, if there’s a particular situation that comes to mind when mentioning a problem with your manager, make sure to include it.
This might negate the anonymity of the feedback, but it’ll also make matters clear. Additionally, you’ll avoid any conflict in case your manager tries to dispute your feedback.
Nobody wants to be in an awkward position with their boss. So, there are some things you need to look out for not to make the situation awkward.
Here’s a list of things to look out for:
There are many benefits to using the 360-degree feedback strategy, including:
Have you ever wanted to anonymously tell your coworker or manager about their weak points? 360-degrees feedback will let you do that.
An employee might respond better to negative feedback if they know it’s meant to motivate them. Receiving positive feedback can also increase their confidence.
That can have a great impact on the employee’s future performance as they work on their weaknesses.
Gathering information from different people with different perspectives guarantees the feedback is highly accurate.
That’s especially true since colleagues don’t realize the goal of the feedback; their input is simply recorded with complete anonymity.
360-degree feedback also ensures that there’s no ulterior motive behind a colleague’s review. It also helps build trust in the workplace, as employees can realize how others perceive their behavior.
For example, if there’s a pattern of behavior that multiple clients, suppliers, and co-workers agree on, that means it’s actually present. The employee will then need to either work on that pattern.
360 reviews can help any individual become more self-aware. When other people from different environments provide feedback on someone, they get a better view of themselves, which in turn helps them move towards working on their weak points and capitalizing on their strengths.
Just like peer-to-peer feedback, 360-degree feedback can boost employees’ self-esteem and increase their productivity.
When positive feedback comes from the people you work with every day, it boosts the positivity of the work environment and improves work relationships.
This, in turn, also helps improve communication and build more trust among the employees.
Just like 360-degree feedback has its benefits, it also has some drawbacks that you should look out for. Here’s a list of some 360-degree feedback drawbacks and how to avoid them:
One of the issues you can face with 360 reviews is conflicting ratings.
For example, you could receive highly positive feedback from a co-worker on a specific dimension, but a superior could give negative feedback on that same dimension.
In this case, some managers might simply discard the data as invalid.
There must be a reason for the different observations. That reason must be identified to have a better understanding of the conflicting ratings.
Receiving negative feedback can lead to one of two situations: you either work on the negative points and improve yourself, or you let the negativity get into your head.
The latter scenario can lower one’s self-esteem and self-confidence, especially if the negative feedback is unexpected.
That’s why there should always be an action plan to improve. The negative feedback isn’t an act of blaming. It’s an attempt to identify one’s problems and work on them.
Upward feedback is when you tell your manager or superior about a certain dimension of their management or behavior which relates to the team. This method is adopted by many leading brands, like Google.
Performance reviews are slightly different from 360 reviews. A performance review focuses more on the end results of preset goals.
So, you need to focus on the work goals and achievements, not the development of skills or weak points.
The samples in our article are to help you understand what to say in your 360-degree feedback. You can draw inspiration from these examples to write your own feedback in your own words.
There are many benefits to giving your manager 360° feedback. First, you’ll improve the work environment and productivity, as your manager will work on the issues you’ve mentioned.
Second, you’ll be improving your relationship with your manager. Additionally, your manager probably wants to hear this feedback to understand how they could improve.
So, how do you give 360 degree feedback effectively to your boss and peers?
You simply evaluate their performance in different aspects, such as their leadership skills, problem-solving skills, and employee engagement. However, there are many things you need to consider when you write 360-degree feedback.
First, you need to be empathic and focus on work-related issues only. Second, your criticism should be constructive, as you don’t want to sound like you’re telling your boss what to do.
Finally, you need to give examples of why you’re giving a positive or a negative review about your boss. Additionally, you should include positive feedback, preferably at first.
After checking our how-to give 360 feedback to your boss examples, you should be able to write 360-degree feedback about your boss with no problems.
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