How to benefit from 360-degree feedback. Executive Excellence, Volume 15, No. 10, 16

In recent years "360-degree feedback" (multi-rater feedback) has become a popular tool for helping executives develop. How can you design and implement a 360-degree assessment and feedback intervention that will create maximum value for the individual and organization? This article discusses seven critical guidelines to help you get the most from any 360-degree assessment and feedback intervention.

The guidelines discussed include:
  1. Defining and communicating a clear purpose;
  2. Starting at the top of the organization;
  3. Having an open mind to feedback and a willingness to change behavior;
  4. Conducting a pilot test in your organization;
  5. Communicate with all program participants and those involved in the 360-degree feedback process;
  6. Safeguarding confidentiality; and
  7. Evaluating your 360-degree process. Specific suggestions and strategies are presented and discussed.

Wimer. S. and Nowack, K. (1998). 13 common mistakes using 360-degree feedback. Training and Development, 52, 69-82

Some people rave about multi-rater feedback, calling it the cornerstone intervention for individual and organizational change. Others say it can leave people feeling betrayed and resentful. This discusses thirteen often-committed errors to avoid before you institute your own multi-rater or 360-degree feedback intervention:
  1. Having no clear purpose,
  2. Using 360 degree feedback as a substitute for managing poor performance,
  3. Not conducting a pilot test before implementation,
  4. Not involving key stakeholders,
  5. Having insufficient communication,
  6. Compromising confidentiality,
  7. Not making the feedback's use clear,
  8. Not giving people sufficient resources to support behavior change,
  9. Not clarifying who "owns" the feedback,
  10. Having administration and scoring that's not user-friendly,
  11. Trying to link the 360 degree feedback intervention to existing HRD systems,
  12. Making it an event rather than an ongoing process, and
  13. Not evaluating effectiveness.

On the positive side, multirater systems provide people with feedback that they might not usually get. They can see how others perceive them, which can be illuminating and is necessary for change. Work groups can express themselves anonymously about peers and managers. It can show what behavior is desired and improve work relationships.

The article also includes a checklist of critical questions and a diagnostic 360-degree feedback intervention case study. Best practices for designing and implementing multi-rater feedback programs are presented.

Nowack, K. (1998). Manager View/360. In Fleenor, J. & Leslie, J. (Eds.). Feedback to managers: A review and comparison of multi-rater feedback instruments. Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, NC

The Center for Creative Leadership, a non-profit educational institution, conducted a survey of multi-rater instruments that give feedback to managers. This publication includes descriptions of 360-degree assessment instruments that meet the following criteria:

  1. Publicly available;
  2. Provide multi-rater feedback;
  3. Have managers/leaders as a target audience;
  4. Have a scaling method that permits assessment of a subject along a psychological continuum;
  5. Conforms to APA/AERA/NCME Standards which makes the psychometric information available to potential users including scale development, administration/scoring, intended uses, appropriate populations, norms, reliability & validity information, and cautions about probable misuses, misinterpretations, and adverse, unintended consequences of using the test.

This publication describes the multi-rater instrument developed and published by Organizational Performance Dimensions (OPD), Manager View/360. By comparing one's perception with those of peers, direct reports and one's manager, Manager View/360 provides an objective summary of your employee's strengths and areas of development along twenty competencies required for competitive performance. Manager View/360 is suitable for supervisory training, management development, training needs assessment, career development, and training evaluation. The software program in English and Spanish (Windows Version) allows for complete in-house administration, printing of the instrument, scoring, report generation. Full Internet administration is now available.


Listening, Two-Way Feedback, Oral Communication, Written Communication, Presentation, Vision/Goal Setting

Planning/Organizing, Delegation, Administrative Control/Follow-Up, Team Building, Performance Evaluation, Performance Management

Rewarding/Recognizing Performance, Interpersonal Sensitivity, Negotiation/Conflict Management, Coaching/Development, Leadership/Influence, Employee Involvement

Strategic Problem-Analysis, and Decisiveness/Judgment

Nowack, K. and Wimer, S. (1997).Coaching for human performance. Training and Development. Volume 51, No.10, 28-32

Just as there is supposedly nothing new under the sun, perhaps you thought there wasn't anything new to say about coaching. In fact, Nowack and Wimer offer a structured, four-step approach that tells how to handle the common issues that typically arise at each stage of the traditional coaching process. In other words, they offer actions for what to do when.

The authors' model, COACH, stands for contract, observe and assess, constructively, and handle resistance. Nowack and Wimer take you through each step with detailed information on its execution. For example, in step 1, contract, they explain what makes a contract "fuzzy" compared with contact in which all parties understand and are committed to the foreseeable relevant issues and agreed-upon goals.

In step 4, handling resistance, Nowack and Wimer offer some insight on why people may resistant coaching and feedback. They also describe ways to deal with anger, frustration, and direct and indirect challenges a person being coached might display. Then they offer tips for the consultant doing the coaching, such as how to not take people's resistance personally.

The article spells out the issues that come up as people go through coaching, such as now to translate coaching into an action and how to evaluate people's progress. The authors point out that it's important for a coach to also be open to feedback on his or her performance.

The article includes a real-world case study and an assessment plan for identifying management competencies. Best practices in designing and implementing coaching interventions are presented.

Nowack, K.M. (1997). Congruence between self-other ratings and assessment center performance. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 12 (5), 145-166

Multi-rater feedback is based upon the tenet that congruence between self and others is associated with managerial success and effectiveness (Tornow, 1993; Yammarino & Atwater, 1993). This study investigated the relationship between self and managerial rating congruence on two measures of assessment center performance (overall assessor ratings and in-basket scores) with 144 production supervisors. Results of hierarchical regression analyses indicated that manager ratings of supervisory effectiveness (RsqCh=.26, p < .01) and self-ratings on 14 assessment center dimensions (RsqCh=.06, p<.01) significantly contributed towards predictions of overall assessor ratings of performance (OAR).

In-agreement/good raters and over-estimators were rated significantly higher in assessment center exercises by assessors compared to under-estimators (Tukey's HSD test, p<.01). Results from additional hierarchical regression analyses indicated that self-ratings incrementally contributed to predictions of in-basket performance (RsqCh=.04, p<.05) above that of manager ratings on task management skills (RsqCh=.33, p<.01). In-agreement/poor raters and under-estimators had lower overall in-basket scores than in-agreement/good raters or over-estimators. Implications of these findings in terms of previous and future research are discussed.

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