360 Degree Feedback has become one of the most frequently used tool in HR assessment - whether for development or other purposes. Nevertheless opinions about it are still divided while there are more studies and discussion concerning the different aspects of 360˚ Feedback. One of these studies concerns whether 360 works for everyone and under what conditions.
There is research that demonstrates that providing feedback is a necessary and important condition for successful behavioral change. According to this research the most significant impact of such feedback is for clients with moderate to low levels of self-insight, or who express a strong motivation to improve, demonstrate poor performance on teachable skills, and have learning versus performance goal orientation.
In general, the success of a 360 feedback can be determined by eight factors:
1. delivery and content of the feedback;
2. interpretation and emotional reactions to feedback;
3. personality of the subject;
4. feedback orientation of the subject;
5. readiness of the subject to change;
6. beliefs about change as well as self-esteem and self-efficacy;
7. goal versus implementation intentions;
8. taking/sustaining action while managing possible relapse.
It is shown for example, that leaders with high emotional stability ratings were perceived as more motivated to use the feedback results for their ongoing professional development. Highly extroverted people are more likely to seek additional feedback at a later point in time, while those subjects found to be highly conscientious are more likely to actually engage in developmental behaviors. Furthermore, leaders that are extroverts are more open to negative feedback. People who tend to underestimate themselves are usually the ones who express more positive reactions to feedback, as well as those who are concerned about making a good first impression. In brief, personality is an important factor.
The other cause of 360 projects not benefiting all is often the methodology of presenting the feedback - it is stated by many sources that providing uniformed feedback can reduce the effect and outcome of the whole 360 project. The way we give feedback, whether it is positive or negative plays an important role in initiating changes.
Therefore, the best way to achieve positive change is to take personality traits into account and use them in your feedback session. If you can identify the people readiness to change, the way of communication that best suits her or him, the motivation that drives that person or the ways of changing for which the person already has capacities - you can adjust your feedback accordingly, creating the optimal environment for change.
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