Harnessing the power of informal 360-degree appraisal for professional growth 

A few years ago, I learned about the 360-degree assessment for leaders while taking the executive leadership course at the University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business. (If you are a leader, you should check out the awesome courses at Haskayne School of Business!). It is a systematic way of gathering feedback about a leader’s strength and opportunities for development from colleagues, direct reports, peers, and superiors within an organization. Interestingly, this style of appraisal isn’t just meant for leaders alone. This form of appraisal is also commonly used by manager and supervisors to evaluate their employees during annual performance reviews too. This 360-degree feedback provides the manager with a more robust and comprehensive assessment of your work performance perspective in such a way that it enhances the accuracy and the validity of the final recommendations about your work while reducing personal biases. 

While corporate organizations use 360-degree evaluation a lot, you could also adopt this approach to increase the quality of your work and proactively grow your career.. In other words, you can conduct 360-degree appraisal about you by informally soliciting feedback from your colleagues, clients, and other project team members. If you do it right, the feedback received can help you course correct, improve several aspects of your work, and set yourself up for unprecedent professional success. So how do you go about soliciting 360-degree feedback about your work and personality from your professional colleagues/managers/superiors without sounding competitive, aggressive, or selfish. It all boils down to relationship with others in the workplace, Here are a few suggestions. 

✅ Reach out to your colleagues/peers/superiors/direct reports who are familiar with your            work and personality at work. Ensure you give each person a broad sense of what the request is all about.

✅ Set up one-on-one meeting with each person depending on their availability meet. This could be an in-person casual meeting over coffee, lunch, or diner. It could also be a virtual meeting. Make sure you keep the meeting brief.

✅ At the meeting, briefly explain the rationale for soliciting their feedback. Make the discussion more about your willingness to improve your “game” and let them know how much value you place on the feedback provided.

✅ Guide the discussion with a set of relevant questions. Here are some examples. 

✔ How would you rate the quality of my work in the team/organization? 

✔ What aspect(s) of my work or personality needs to be improved? 

✔  In what ways do you think I can improve?

✔  What other suggestions do you have for me?

✅ Express your appreciation for the time spent and the feedback provided. Reiterate how much you value their feedback and express your willingness to act based on those suggestions provided.

✅ Make sure you ask for other ways you also return the favor or support their career growth. 

✅ Stay in touch and keep them updated about the progress you are making, as appropriate. 

Finally, these recommended steps for soliciting professional feedback in an informal manner hinges on a common point: maintaining good relationships. You cannot solicit feedback from those with whom you have no relationships or folks with whom you have difficult relationships. That’s why relationships currency is so important in the marketplace. By leveraging the feedback provided by those in your network, you can improve your work and advance your career growth .