I’ve been involved in providing structured feedback since developing my own upward feedback system in the early ‘90s. From the get-go, I could see how potent well organised feedback was in prompting recipients to take an ‘outside-in’ perspective on their leadership and management effectiveness. Gaining a clear sense of what others need them to do, or do differently, is a hugely motivating factor in sparking personal improvement efforts.

360 Degree Feedback

These days – as for the past several years – I collaborate with Leaderskill Group Pty Ltd, a long-established and highly regarded specialist feedback and leadership development consultancy. One of the things I like about partnering with Leaderskill is the unique rating scale used in their survey instruments. Instead of rating the person on specific leadership capabilities (‘very effective’, ‘effective’, etc.), the responses focus on the work the person needs to do more of (or less of, or just continue what they’re doing). This approach minimises the risks of anyone feeling diminished as a result of being rated down on some items, and maximises openness to learning.

In our collaboration, Leaderskill handles all the technical work with the 360s, including provision of the surveys, analysis and reporting. My role is in debriefing survey recipients, and this often leads to ongoing coaching assignments.

One pattern that Leaderskill proprietor, Dylan Forbes, and I have noticed is that feedback surveys typically reveal one or more areas for development that centre on engaging with others, conversation. The beauty of the feedback process is that it pinpoints the areas in which recipients are seen to need to develop. In connection with conversation, the possibilities are almost as diverse as the feedback recipients themselves. Examples of development needs revealed include: proactively raising risks and concerns in executive meetings; speaking less directly, abruptly when under pressure; and prioritising development conversations with staff.

My OBREAU conversation model (observation, reasonableness, authenticity) can be applied, with potentially immediate effect, with any or all such challenges. And whatever their development needs relating to speaking and communicating with others, participants tend to find OBREAU a very practical and useful tool for aiding their growth.

As an adjunct to feedback debriefing sessions and/or coaching sessions, my (mainly online) course Change Conversations: Safer, Clearer, More Authentic is an engaging resource for helping people converse about change-related (and any other) challenges in a safer and more productive fashion. (The course is also available in a healthcare-specific version.)

One thing that has emerged very clearly from my collaboration with Leaderskill is that there is a great synergy between their feedback process and my conversation-based development offerings. It’s a pleasure to work with them. To find out more about Leaderskill’s feedback offerings, see their website here. And if you have a conversation with them, kindly mention that you read about Leaderskill here.