360 Degree Feedback

The Thornhill 360 degree feedback system allows people to gather information about themselves online, through a self-questionnaire and a questionnaire sent to others, in a professional way that allows for anonymity.

It is called 360 degree feedback because it invites comprehensive feedback on behaviour and/or performance from people all around you in your work context – yourself, above (manager), below (direct reports) and from the “sides” (peers, suppliers, customers, or other interested stakeholders, depending on the chosen raters).

The feedback from each of these groups is collated into a report that highlights strength and development areas in a person’s leadership and interpersonal abilities. Questions are typically multiple choice, allowing scores to be compared across items, with the option of open-ended questions that allow individualised feedback. This feedback is used to assist the manager in improving his/her leadership performance.

Benefits of 360 Feedback

Business leaders and managers become more effective in achieving their goals when they gain insight into what they are doing well and what they still need to learn to do well.

How others perceive them can contribute valuably to this insight, but most people need help to discover how they are perceived – research shows that most people are quite poor at accurately recognising how they come across to others.

The 360 degree feedback process begins with a self-assessment. The self-assessment is very important, as it allows participants to reflect honestly on their strengths and areas for development as they perceive them, giving them a basis from which to compare the feedback they receive from their raters. It also shows participants the questions that their raters will be answering.

The questionnaire comprises behavioural statements which simply describe performance rather than trying to explain it. This has a number of advantages:

  • There is no mystification of the feedback – the person receiving the information simply knows how other people observe him/her, and thus can decide for him/herself what to make of it.
  • There is a direct and obvious link to what is expected of the person on the job.
  • The list of items provides a checklist of leadership behaviours that can be used in training, and can be integrated with performance management.

The intention of behavioural statements is to point people in the direction of effective performance in a particular context. The person receiving the feedback can be helped to interpret the meaning and significance of what is said in terms of the environment he/she shares with the observers, and his/her personal goals.

Areas of Application

  • To provide insight into an individual’s leadership behaviours across all aspects of leadership and key competencies
  • To facilitate the learning, development and performance of managers at various management levels
  • A foundation for executive coaching and/or mentoring and personal development plans
  • A feedback tool for organisation effectiveness and leadership development programmes
  • An assessment for promotion and placement of managers at various management levels
  • A feedback tool for MBA and executive development programmes, as well as assessment and development centres
  • Pre and post leadership measures can be used to assess the impact of interventions.