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I cried during my 360 review. Here's why you won't have to.

by Ashley Martin, Client Services Director

Maybe it was my time of the month. Maybe it was because my husband and I were strapped for income, and the struggle was getting really real. Because I was motivated by the approval, flattery and acceptance by others, hearing any sort of criticism was certainly going to crush me. No matter the reason, there I was in my manager's office, practically having a panic attack.

Earlier in my career the company I worked for introduced a new performance review process - the 360 feedback survey, which was becoming all the rage in HR culture. A “360” as it is often called, is an assessment through which feedback from an employee's subordinates, colleagues, and supervisor, as well as a self-evaluation, is gathered. Because any and all feedback is good feedback, right?


In a recent article, authors and biz gurus Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall discussed numerous reasons why feedback fails. Included in these findings is the fact that the bar for excellence is subjective. Specifically, the lens for how we view our colleagues' behavior is tainted, for our own experiences and beliefs can impact how we see and interpret behavior in others. Combine that with the fact that our brains are literally wired for growing our strengths. Thus when the focus is on remediating our weaknesses, our sympathetic nervous system goes into fight or flight mode - neither of which is constructive at this crucial time.

This is what was happening to me: I was scientifically shutting down. In what became a three-hour performance review recap, I learned how I'm doing really great on some things desk could look more organized while I'm eating lunch (it's hard to corral a paper-bag-lunch-packed charcuterie board, TRUST) and that employees generally seemed to stop at my desk and talk to me too much. These are terrifically dumb reasons to get emotional over, but the perfectionist, people-pleaser in me just couldn't stand it.

Nearly a decade has passed since that first 360 - ten years of blaming myself for not being an adult and holding it together. Recently though, I gained a fresh perspective and learned that there is actual logic and reasoning behind my mid-year meltdown. Don’t get me wrong, employees need feedback. We just have to go about it the right way.

363 for Leaders: A Process You Can Trust

Everything DiSC 363® for Leaders isn't just any 360 -- the platform is paramount for employee leadership development. Our 363 for Leaders process combines the simplicity and power of DiSC with three personalized strategies to improve leadership effectiveness. Its protective framework incorporates valid, crucial feedback from direct reports, peers, and managers regarding eight specific and highly researched leadership approaches. The data is then formulated into a development plan that works, especially when powered by the mentorship of an external, non-biased coach.

Participants in our 363 for Leaders program trust our process because it:

• Allows individuals to gain feedback only from those in deep, working relationships

• Eliminates unhelpful or malicious feedback with the exclusive CommentSmart feature

• Identifies areas of focus (which leadership practices are their strengths and which would benefit from further development) by assessing frequency of leadership behavior, as opposed to likes/dislikes

• Visibly charts how frequently others observe the eight leadership behaviors and compares it with the leader’s self-perception

• Answers the “Now What?” question by supporting their future success and development with targeted strategies plus an unbiased, confidential leadership coaching session

“363 for Leaders was eye opening (in a good way), and really user-friendly. I appreciated how you provided context for the three strategies and tactics we chose for the next phase of my leadership journey." - Executive Director

It’s true: 363 for Leaders takes the sting out of 360 feedback. Knowing what I know now, it literally trumps my personal 360 experience in numerous ways. First, the raters did not truly know me, as I was forced to choose a certain number of people, regardless if they were direct reports (I didn’t have any) or peers (they didn’t work closely enough with me). The rating system also allowed for open-ended feedback that ultimately did not correlate with my success. My manager and I had very limited 1:1 time, which impacted the level of trust I had going into my debrief with her. Most importantly, I was not offered an action plan to improve my performance and grow…and isn’t that the whole point of a 360?

Luckily for today’s leaders, our 363 for Leaders profile has strict, professional boundaries and a strategy for development that ensures the integrity of the system, utmost care of its recipients, and a high likelihood of all smiles at the end of the process.

Does your organization need 363 for Leaders? Clients enjoy our full-service approach to the 363 process - no need to worry about issuing codes or follow-up. We do it all!

• All logistics for up to 25 raters per leader

• Email communications and personal access codes for each rater

• Friendly reminders and follow up with raters to ensure timely completion

• Delivery of all reports, summaries and analytic

• 90-minute debrief and coaching session hosted by one of our experienced leadership coaches

Wanna see if you have what it takes to be a leader? Take our 5-question quiz. It's pain-free...I promise.


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