Feedback is critical to leadership effectiveness and development. That’s why 360 Multi-Rater Assessments are used by over 90% of Fortune 500 companies. But many organizations are now experiencing these problems:
- Focusing on a leader’s weaknesses and skill gaps — many participants find the 360 process negative and punishing. Some executives are now banning 360s from their organizations because of the pain and suffering they can cause. Pre and post-tests prove that “Building Leadership Strengths is 2 – 3 Times More Effective Than Fixing Weaknesses“.
- Survey questions lack validity — Many competency models and 360 survey questions have little to no research on whether they are connected to performance outcomes. For example, charisma, time management, managerial courage, and executive presence are examples of dozens of competencies we’ve researched that don’t predict or correlate to levels of employee engagement, safety, turnover, patient satisfaction, or quality.
- Rating scales create false positives — standard “Agree/Disagree” scales often create a tight banding of data that make it difficult to differentiate between competent, strength, or profound strength.
- Providing normative averages — showing leaders 75th and 90th percentile norms and how building their strengths can significantly elevate their performance and encourages greater developmental effort.
- Lack of personal connection to employee engagement — employee engagement surveys show generally how engaged or satisfied employees are with the organization. Leaders need to see specifically how their behaviors impact their direct reports.
- Not all competencies are equal for every leader — traditional leadership or competency models use a one-size-fits-all approach (some try tailoring to multiple organizational levels). What’s missing is multi-rater feedback on which competencies matter most for that leader in that role.
- Written comments reinforce fixing weaknesses — most participants skim the responses to the question asking for a list of strengths and dwell (even fixate) on the list of their weaknesses or improvement suggestions. All a leader really needs to know is whether a weakness is significant or a “fatal flaw” that needs immediate attention.
- No insights on how to build strengths — traditional improvement plans flowing from 360s are focused on fixing weaknesses using a linear approach. What’s missing is a research-based map showing how extraordinary leaders build a competency or strength from good to great.
- Too complex or too simple — some very lengthy 360 assessments can take 30 – 60 minutes or more to complete. Reports are overly complex and confusing to interpret. At the other extreme, too few competencies and survey questions restrict the range of personally relevant and validated strengths leaders can leverage.