How to make best use of your 360° feedback report

If you have recently received a 360° appraisal report, you can use it to become more effective in your job, put your skills to better use, or prepare to take on added responsibilities. Or you can ignore it (at your peril). Ideally, your manager should work closely with you to review the results and help you make the most of the feedback. But your manager is often too busy to do so. Then you are left to your own resources. The following advice will help you prepare for the feedback, extract the key themes from it, and make the most of it for your own personal development...

1. Remember that 360° feedback is different to normal feedback.

Unlike normal informal feedback, multi-rater feedback is packed with detailed information to sort through. The data has been provided by several people in addition to your manager, and focuses on on-the-job behaviour considered critical by the organisation to your effective performance. It is not feedback to be taken lightly.

2. Prepare to respond positively to negative feedback.

Most of us respond emotionally to criticism. We can get embarrassed or angry, or become withdrawn and defensive. Consider how you normally react. Be aware that 360° feedback can expose your weaknesses to the point of emotional pain - but you must stand prepared to counter this natural reaction with constructive effort. Your future success may depend on your resolution in this regard.

3. Analyse your feedback report.

After reading your report for the first time, you may feel unsettled or upset. Expect this, and be resolved to put such emotions aside. Analyse the document by asking such questions as:

Any surprises? What are they? Do the raters’ views vary? Why? Do your manager’s views differ from other raters’? Why? Do your self-ratings differ from those of others? Why? Have you under-rated or over-rated yourself? Why? In which areas do you rate highly? And poorly? Why? Do any of the written comments provide clarification? Which items seem to belong together? Are any themes emerging?

It is vital that you thoroughly explore the content of your report before attempting to prepare a plan of action.

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