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360 Feedback For Managers: The Key To Leadership Excellence

Kate William

30 May 2023

9 min read

You must’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”. Well, you can use this and apply it to 360-degree performance appraisals at the workplace. Because just as a child’s development is influenced by a variety of factors, an employee’s performance is also impacted by a wide range of inputs.

This is why 360 feedback for managers and employees is becoming an essential aspect in organizations globally. Still, it’s slightly more essential for managers.

Why? And how can managers conduct 360 feedback the right way? We give answers to these here. Find your comfy spot and a strong cup of coffee because this one’s gonna be a helluva ride & guide! See, it even rhymes 😉

Why Is 360 Feedback Important For Managers & Businesses?

Before discussing how to conduct 360-degree performance appraisals, it’s fitting to talk about the importance of this method for managers and businesses. After all, any process always makes more sense when you know the attainable benefits. Gym enthusiasts would get it!

So here are 7 massive benefits of using a 360 feedback and appraisal method at work:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Complete Input
  3. Team Collaboration
  4. Need Recognition
  5. Better Leadership
  6. Promotes Equality
  7. Enhances Reputation

1) Improves Self-Awareness:

360-degree feedback provides employees with an opportunity to understand how they are perceived by others, which leads to improved self-awareness and personal development.

Imagine you have a “Lone Wolf” salesperson in the office who’s consistently hitting the sales targets and keeping customers happy, but stepping on his colleague’s toes. 360-degree feedback would identify and even suggest an appropriate training or remedial course to change the approach.

2) Provides “Complete” Input:

360-degree feedback is the best way for managers to get information about their employees from a variety of sources, which is always more useful (and complete) than a single person’s viewpoint.

Rather than just receiving praise from a happy customer, managers also get to know about an employee through his co-workers, HR folks, and from senior leadership, to make the final bonus or appraisal decision.

3) Enhances Team Collaboration:

The 360 feedback for managers helps enhance team collaboration and open communication between the entire team. This fosters a positive team culture and amps up productivity in the workplace in no time!

We saw this first hand when in our client’s company, an employee who was quiet yet efficient was recognized by her team members during the 360-degree performance appraisal process.

Her manager was pleasantly surprised and admitted that if it hadn’t been for the 360 feedback process, he would’ve never recognized her real qualities because of her under-the-radar nature. Now, this once quiet employee is a vocal and appreciative manager herself, totally flourishing in her role!

4) Recognizes Organizational Needs:

Another massive benefit of using a 360 feedback system for managers and businesses is to better understand employee needs, both on a personal and organizational level.

This system also makes managers aware of the problem areas for each employee and how exactly can it affect the organization. For example, with 360-degree reviews, you’ll receive insights into the training needs of your team, resulting in better planning, execution, and eventual result.

5) Improves Leadership:

While a 360 feedback system gives an overall assessment of the employees, it also does the same for the manager.

Yes, in this system, team members also rate their manager for leadership and team bonding qualities. That way, as a team leader, you can constantly improve and get better at work. Amazing, right?

6) Promotes Equality:

What happens when an entire team focuses on work-related and personal qualities and not on someone’s race, age, gender, and ethnic values? Well, you see a workplace that’s flourishing on the back of equality!

The very nature of 360-degree feedback is to focus on employee skill sets that allow them to do great work. There’s no place (and no questions) to entertain anything else, especially racial or gender inequality. Empowering!

7) Enhances Reputation:

In this new normal, companies using 360-degree feedback for assessment and appraisal are viewed as being more progressive and committed to employee development, which enhances their reputation to attract more top talent.

Even managers who implement a thorough 360 feedback & review system attract a lot of attention, so much so, that people want to join a specific company just to work under a renowned team leader known to extract the best out of talents while giving them the space and projects to grow.

360 Feedback for Managers: Template

Custom survey for 360 feedback for managers
360 feedback for managers: Check out this SurveySparrow template

Gain the insights your teams need with our 360 performance appraisal tools. Try SurveySparrow for free. 


Process for 360 Feedback For Managers: Here’s How To Do It

After knowing the benefits, it’s fitting to know the process, right? Well, with no further ado, here’s the complete “360 feedback for managers” structure to use in all organizational types and sizes:

  1. Set The Criteria
  2. Choose The Jury!
  3. Choose The Timing
  4. Send Out Anonymous Surveys
  5. Self-Evaluation Is Key
  6. Review Together

Step 1: Set The Criteria

The first step to do, as a manager, in the 360 feedback for appraisal process is to establish a rating criteria for your team members and yourself.

The best (and the right) way to do that is to consider different soft skills useful at the workplace, like leadership, communication, organization, problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, and set ratings for it such as non-existent, neutral, good, and excellent. This way, once the feedback process is complete, you’ll have a clear idea about the strengths and weaknesses of every team member.

Step 2: Choose The Jury!

“Let’s see what the judges think about your performance.”

Well, what can we say… we just love America’s Got Talent! But seriously, this statement is pretty much valid for managers looking to use 360-degree feedback for performance appraisals.

This is because, for apt evaluation, an employee should be assessed by the right assessors – namely colleagues, customers, the HR team, and even members from a different team. That way, you get an all-rounded profile of employees to work with and form your decision.

Step 3: Choose The Timing

Winter does not yield mangoes, and a mango ice cream is never going to taste like one. That’s a fact!

Another fact is that a 360 feedback process does not work all the time. And it changes for every organization. As a manager looking to implement this appraisal system, you need to fixate on the right time for it.

Otherwise, your raters won’t have enough useful data to share, but they’ll share something just for the sake of it and that won’t help. So, don’t skip this step!

Step 4: Send Out Anonymous Surveys

The next step is to send out the review survey to each employee promising anonymity for the best and most honest results. The perfect time is to share it over their company emails, at least a week in advance for participants to take their time and provide helpful information.

But emphasize the timeline by which you want their reviews as humans don’t think much before procrastinating 🙂 To know what questions to ask in this survey, read this – 360 Degree Feedback Questionnaire: 50+ Example Questions

Step 5: Self-Evaluation Is Key

In a 360-degree feedback process, evaluation from all raters is crucial, but self-evaluation cannot be ignored. Period.

And the best part about this is you don’t need to prepare a separate survey for this, as the same anonymous survey works perfectly fine here, too. Just send it on time and declare very clearly that honesty here will be rewarded!

Step 6: Review Together

After the 360-degree reviews are collected, it’s time to sit with each one of the team members in a one-to-one meeting and go over their strengths and weaknesses, as collated from all surveys. Praise them for their strengths and emphasize their weaknesses as areas that need improving. Also, set goals and training programs for each employee separately that guarantees improvement.

Then, based on each employee’s reaction to his/her performance evaluation and strengths & weaknesses, give a fair appraisal. Ensure no bias, even involuntarily, creeps in at this final stage. It can jeopardize the entire process and bring dissatisfaction among workers. You don’t want that, do you?

6 Memorable 360 Feedback Examples For Managers

Positive Examples:

1. Feedback on Communication Skills

“I have always admired how you ensure that each team member is clear about their responsibilities and goals.”

2. Feedback on Leadership Skills

“Your positive attitude is contagious, and it encourages us to maintain a high level of work quality.”

3. Feedback on Decision-Making Abilities

“One of your strongest qualities is your decision-making ability. You always consider all the relevant factors and listen to different perspectives before making a decision.”

These examples highlight key areas that are important for a manager’s role: communication, leadership, and decision-making.

Negative Examples:

1. Feedback on Communication Skills

“While your technical knowledge is exceptional, there have been instances where your communication could be clearer.”

2. Feedback on Leadership Skills

“You’re often focused on the tasks at hand, which is important. But it seems to come at the expense of recognizing and appreciating the team’s efforts.”

3. Feedback on Decision-Making Abilities

“There have been situations where decisions were made without taking the team’s input into consideration. This has sometimes led to unexpected challenges during the implementation of these decisions. Greater inclusion of team perspectives in the decision-making process could solve this.”

Remember, the goal of this feedback is not to criticize, but to provide insight that can help managers grow and improve in their roles.

SurveySparrow: The Right 360 Feedback Tool For Managers

You know, even after knowing the right way for conducting 360-degree feedback, you’ll still require the right 360 feedback tool for it.

Enters SurveySparrow. It’s one of the best 360-degree performance appraisal tools out there. From outstanding data collection and engaging survey templates to advanced automation, SurveySparrow offers multiple impressive features for its users.

Here’s what you can expect from this quality yet absolutely affordable 360 feedback tool:

Engaging, Anonymous 360 Degree Survey

You can conduct 360-degree appraisals easily with SurveySparrow’s 360-degree feedback software. This software will let you create engaging, conversational, chat-like surveys. You can align your brand with the surveys using features like custom params, variables, contact params, and piping.

SurveySparrow’s employee feedback software is designed for multiple devices. And with different types of survey questions, you can personalize your employees’ 360-degree appraisal surveys, team and department-wise.

Improve Productivity with 360-Degree Reports

With SurveySparrow’s 360-degree feedback software, you can gather rich insights about your employees’ performance and review reports. This feedback tool offers different filters such as self-assessed, partially evaluated, evaluation complete, report ready, report pending, etc.

These filters allow you to track the assessment status without any hassle. You can focus on improving your employees’ productivity and growth by getting question-wise responses from each employee. So cool, isn’t it?

Fully Customizable 360-Degree Reports

Personal branding is a really crucial aspect of every business. For yours too, you can customize employee 360-degree performance appraisal reports and 360 evaluation emails with company logo, color, fonts, and style.

A signature color can increase brand recognition by 80%, according to Reboot’s 2018 report. So customize all you want with SurveySparrow’s 360 feedback solution.

In-depth Analysis & Assessment Tracking

You can analyze the employee data using robust reporting modules to get rich insights. Simply perform a 360 review using filters and cross-tabulation, then export the data using SPSS and PDF for further assessment.

It’s easy to track and manage all employee performance with this. You can use the employee portal in the 360 feedback software where the admin and manager of the portal can check the evaluation status of each employee.

Easy Employee Invites

SurveySparrow lets you import employee data using CSV and integrate through LDPA in Active Directory. You can invite your employees easily via email by adding their contact information.

On top of that, set approvers for your employees so they can reject\accept the review reports in just a few clicks.

Automated Feedback Loop

You use a tool to ease your life and work, right? SurveySparrow understands that, and hence with its 360 feedback software, you can automate the entire performance appraisal process, with options for recurring surveys, and real-time review collection. Sweet!

Multi-Department Feedback

Lastly, manage diverse feedback requirements of multiple departments in your company with features like sub-accounts and audience management.

Also, sort your employees into different teams using folders. With this feedback software, you can share surveys for the HR and marketing departments and access them using a parent account.

With all these amazing features, is there any reason left not to opt for SurveySparrow’s 360-degree feedback software? And don’t just go by these words, use the 14-day free trial to test everything out by yourself!

360 Feedback For Managers: 5 Important FAQs

Before we wrap it up here, let’s answer these 5 crucial and common FAQs about 360-degree performance evaluation;

#1. Are 360 feedback and 360 reviews the same?

No. 360 feedback is collected to get a holistic representation of an employee and his strengths and weaknesses.

In a 360 review, the same feedback is used to do a performance evaluation for an employee to give an appraisal. So, the former is used to conduct the latter, hence, they’re not the same.

#2. Why collect 360 feedback anonymously?

To ensure honest answers from all reviewers without thinking about a reaction from others or soured relationships due to someone giving negative reviews to someone else at the workplace.

#3. As a manager, how to measure the success or effectiveness of 360-degree performance evaluations?

You can do that by sending out another anonymous email survey, this time asking team members and other reviewers to evaluate just this 360-degree process and how it did or did not benefit them. It’ll give a clear idea about its success or effectiveness.

#4. How to enhance the quality of 360 feedback performance reviews?

Using specifically tailored software, like SurveySparrow. These set up clear performance metrics, provide a rich analytics dashboard, and automate the feedback collection process for you to focus on reviewing employees for continuous personal and organizational growth.

#5. What types of businesses thrive off of 360 reviews?

A 360 feedback process used by managers benefits all kinds of companies. Small and medium-sized companies use it to identify weaknesses that are preventing growth. And large companies benefit from a larger pool of employees to provide even more useful performance data that brings eventual growth.

Time For Some Feedback!

“360-degree feedback helps to create a culture of trust and open communication, where individuals are encouraged to grow and develop.” – John Maxwell

Wouldn’t we all agree on this? In this post-pandemic world, people want to be loved and included more than ever. And they’re fine with all the other aspects of work if you, as manager, can give employees the culture to grow and share their ideas. A 360-degree feedback and evaluation method is the best way to do that.

With that said and since you already know a lot about SurveySparrow’s 360-degree feedback software, we’re eager to hear from you and then start the free trial. Because your business and employees deserve the best! Danke!

Kate William

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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