What is a 360 degree leadership assessment?

A 360 degree leadership assessment is a form of feedback for leaders in which their skills, effectiveness and influence as an executive, leader or manager are evaluated. With this sort of evaluation, the leadership in a company receives feedback from a set of colleagues.
You find yourself in a leadership position and, as any good leader, you want to grow and improve and you want your organization to grow and be successful.
You understand that if you, as a leader, don’t keep growing then your organization won’t keep growing. 

What is one of the best ways to grow as a leader?

One of the best ways to grow as a leader is to receive a 360 evaluation about your performance and productivity in your capacity as leader. Research shows that, contrary to popular belief, asking for feedback from others in the organization is strongly correlated to a leader’s overall effectiveness.

In fact, the top-ranked leaders in terms of effectiveness were also ranked in the top 10% in terms of their willingness to ask for feedback. Conversely, the leaders who ranked the lowest in terms of effectiveness were also ranked in the bottom 10% in terms of effectiveness as a leader. This shows just how much your openness to receiving feedback is linked to your effectiveness as a leader.

What are some of the problems with receiving feedback about your performance as a leader?

One problem that arises is that your organization may be set up to only administer assessments in a traditional, top-down manner, from supervisor to employee. This is often presented as a 360 performance review or an end-of-year review.

The problem with receiving feedback from a supervisor is that it’s a biased, one-sided perspective. There is so much that a supervisor misses in terms of your influence and effectiveness as a leader.

There is another possible problem with receiving performance feedback using the traditional assessment model when you’re the executive. Under this model, you’re at a loss if there’s no one above you to give you an evaluation. In this scenario, you could be left with no feedback. This can also lead to a third problem.

The third potential problem is the ability to obtain a fair and honest evaluation when you’re the executive. The reality is that the “higher one rises in a company, the less honest feedback one receives.”

Unfortunately, the higher a leader is positioned, the more likely individuals only say what they think the leader wants to hear. This, in turn, limits your ability to grow because you’re not receiving honest feedback about your strengths, weaknesses and areas you need to grow.

Instead, you need a means of obtaining feedback that is honest, fair and well-rounded. This is where 360 degree leadership assessments come in.

What is a 360 degree leadership assessment?

A 360 degree leadership assessment is a form of feedback for leaders in which their skills, effectiveness and influence as an executive, leader or manager are evaluated. With this sort of evaluation, the leadership in a company receives feedback from a set of colleagues.

These colleagues are considered your professional peers and report at your level and perhaps a step higher. They may report to the executive officer, your boss, possibly your boss’s supervisor and several of your peers.

Use 360 degree leadership assessments to help your leadership and your organization

Implementing this type of assessment will benefit your organization and your leaders (including you). When the evaluation is executed properly and the results are received with humility, respect and a willingness to grow and change, this feedback will assist you in growing personally and professionally. Take a chance and explore 360 degree leadership assessments and watch you and your organization grow.

360 Leadership Assessment Examples

When implementing a 360 degree assessment your organization needs to decide what characteristics, skills, aptitudes and attitudes you want to evaluate and, more importantly, grow in your employees. Knowing this will help in giving you a guideline for what to put in the survey.

Examples of 360 degree feedback and/or sample questions and comments can help greatly in designing the assessment. Following are examples of 360 degree assessment questions and comments as well as some concerns that this sort of feedback can address.

These examples are broken down according to broad categories depending upon character traits or work attitudes that your organization wants in its employees. These questions can be used for the lower-level employee and/or for the mid- to upper-level manager/leader. The phrasing of the questions may need to be adjusted to suit the specific position.

What a 360 degree leadership assessment is not?

It’s important to note that a 360 degree leadership assessment is not the same thing as a 360 degree employee assessment. The meaning, process and outcome of the assessment is significantly different when dealing with leadership. With the 360 degree assessment, an employee receives feedback from all stakeholders who work with them – supervisors, colleagues, peers and possibly clients – which gives an all-around perspective. 

However, different from the employee receiving the 360 degree feedback, the upper-level supervisor receiving the 360 degree leadership assessment isn’t evaluated by their general colleagues or their subordinates. They tend not to be evaluated by their customers or clients either.