Traditionally, 360 Degree Feedback is focused on individuals, getting feedback from their colleagues, boss and customers. So how does it work for teams?
The concept of 360 Degree Feedback can be applied to a team as well an individual learner.So, in the same way as a learner gets 360 degree feedback which helps her to understand how she is perceived by her colleagues, a team can get 360 Degree Feedback too.
Teams are like individuals. They have goals to meet, and aspirations as a team, which might be simply to work well together. Like individuals teams can have personalities and characteristics that are unique. They have their good days and bad days. And they behave, as a team, in specific ways, on a regular basis – they have good and bad habits.
When you’re working the midst of a team, you may not see these habits, or team characteristics.
And if you’re the team leader, it may be even harder for you to have an objective view of your team.
That’s why 360 Degree Feedback can be equally effective with developing team behaviours and culture as it is for individuals.
Team 360 Feedback can be a powerful tool for:
- Identifying the culture of the team, how it works, what it does well and where it needs to change
- Aligning the perceptions of the team leader with those of the team itself, as well as those outside the team who have different interactions with it
- Aligning the team with the goals of the organisation, and with its values and aspirations
Different views and perceptions
There will be many overlapping perceptions and experiences of working with a particular team.
The team leader will have a certain view, for example, how effectively the team communicates to customers. Team members as a whole will also have a view, but this will be influenced by their interactions with customers and others, which the team leader may not be fully aware of.
Colleagues in other teams will also have a view, for example that the team in question is not always responsive to customers and those colleagues have to pick up some of the support issues. Finally, customers or suppliers may have their own very different view of working with the team.
So how does team 360 work?
Designing the team 360
With a tool like Track 360, you can set up a 360 that is specific to your team’s goals and behaviours. This can be based on individual or team competencies that you have already defined. Alternatively you can use a team-working model such as The T7 Model of Team Effectiveness or LaFasto and Larson’s Five Dynamics as a basis to create a bespoke 360 that is suitable for your team to use.
The key to success at this stage is to remember that the feedback is
- Based on perceptions of the team’s activities and behaviours as a team
- Completed by individuals who interact with the team on a regular basis, such as members of other teams, support staff who work with the team, senior management and customers
- For team members also, who will effectively self-assess on what it’s like working in the team
- Not intended to identify behaviours or give feedback to individuals, but rather to the team as a whole. That’s why it’s important that the questions are stated clearly and succinctly, relate to the team (not individuals), and are based on visible and measurable actions (not concepts or theoretical models).
Communicating the purpose of the team 360 is critical to its success.
It’s important that team members understand what it’s for, how the feedback will be used, and their role in the feedback. Team leaders must see this as an critical development tool that will allow them to improve team performance, motivate and enthuse their team, and use their strengths to become better team leaders.
Gathering the 360 feedback
Using a specially designed tool like Track 360, the team 360 can be set up online. This makes it ideal for teams working remotely and in different locations.
Each team member will be able to complete their ‘team’ assessment confidentially in their own online feedback portal, as will their colleagues and others. The process of feedback completion happens easily online, and continues until the agreed deadline date. At the deadline the 360 is closed.
Reporting and acting on the team’s 360 feedback
The system is then able to generate a report which pulls all the team feedback together in one easy-to-read document. The report will highlight areas where the team’s feedback aligns with others, and areas where there is a gap – similar to a Johari Window for teams.
The team leader can share this report with his team to discuss the feedback, understand and interpret it, and agree together where they as a team will focus their development goals over the next month or quarter.
Team performance and development
In this way the 360 becomes an active tool which can be revisited again as the team and the team leader focus on the changes they want to make.
360 Degree Feedback can be a powerful tool for helping the team to understand themselves as a team, work better together, harness their strengths and develop where they need to.
If you have questions on how this has worked in other organisations, please contact me here.