Embrace the new year by gifting yourself some feedback
Before the responsibilities and deliverables of the new year consume all of your precious time, it may be valuable to find a moment to reflect on your growth and development in the previous year. Furthermore, in response to these insights, an opportunity arises to consider what behaviour or actions may need to change going forward into the new year. While self-reflection is a valuable and insightful means to grow, this is further enhanced by seeking feedback from others. With particular emphasis on the workplace, a beneficial tool to support inviting external feedback is the 360° feedback process.
Simply put, 360° feedback is a process where anonymous input from multiple people from multiple roles provides a balanced and comprehensive view of an individual’s impact and performance. Typically, the people involved in providing feedback through this process could include managers, peers, direct reports and customers or clients. This type of feedback can be very useful in a number of ways. As a developmental tool, the feedback can be used to help an individual improve his/her performance and align one’s own actions to the needs of the group. It provides insight into the individual’s strengths and developmental needs and helps him/her to become more self-aware of his or her own behaviour. The additional advantage of receiving feedback from a broad range of respondents in a professional context is that, by reflecting on one’s strengths and development areas as perceived by others, an individual often observes shifts in behaviour and actions in his/her personal life. The benefits of 360° feedback are many in that the individual not only grows both personally and professionally but, additionally, the organisation experiences positive shifts as that individual and his/her team together develop and experience positive group dynamics.
How can this be? Firstly, the observations and evaluations from peers and direct reports, even clients, can help to open the floor for honest discussions about any undesirable work behaviours. Secondly, it helps to focus and increase management learning by encouraging skill development and effective goal setting. In addition, it helps to identify any neglected performance dimensions. Furthermore, greater transparency emerges which impacts positively on team behaviours. Finally, it aids in improving customer/client service. Numerous research studies indicated how these advantages contributed to improved self-esteem and enhanced team-work, corporate culture, productivity and communication.
With the above in mind, undertaking a 360° feedback process relatively early in the new year will be both a gift to oneself as well as a gift to others and the organisation. We invite you to embrace 2019 with positive energy and reward yourself and others with the gift of feedback.
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Written by Verity Hawarden and Nelmarie Boshoff