When you hear the term, “360-degree assessment,” how do you feel? Do you want to run for the hills? Most leaders do. I’ve been facilitating 360-degree assessments for 25 years. I know that they range from hugely successful to downright destructive. When we don’t deliver feedback appropriately, recipients can either shut down and become defensive or take what’s said way too personally.
Last spring, I became certified to administer the Shift+360 (read: “Shift Positive 360”), an assessment method that is rooted in Applied Positive Psychology. While this process is similar to many 360-degree assessments, it differs in a few critical ways.
The Shift+ Process is an Interpersonal Process
The overwhelming majority of 360-degree assessments are electronic. You sit at your desk, click some boxes, and write the occasional comment. Your results are computer generated, not particularly in-depth and lack context. The Shift+ assessment is a real-time, face-to-face experience in which I interact directly with the people you’re working with every day.
Because interviews are conducted in person, I have the opportunity to dive deeper with each responder and gain crucial insight into the how and why of their feedback. When it comes time to deliver the assessment results, I’m able to communicate the context necessary to understand where each responder is coming from so that clients can receive feedback as useful information, rather than destructive criticism.
You Are Part of a People System
In a standard 360-degree process, it’s easy to feel like you’re standing alone on an island in the middle of a raging sea. During a Shift+ assessment, you may still be on that island, but you’re there with a group of friends who want to help you succeed.
A crucial component of this process is the development of a “people system” to support the individual client’s progress. Colleagues become allies, rather than antagonists and identify specific ways in which they will help the client through their growth process.
Support might come in the form of feedback on one particular skill that the client is trying to develop, or a judgment-free space where the client can air how they’re feeling along the way. The ultimate goal is to create an environment in which all participants take shared ownership in each other’s success.
Shift+ is Future-Focused and Solutions-Oriented
It’s significantly easier for people to do more of what is working than to stop doing something that causes problems. The Shift+ process helps allies craft a clear picture of what the client is getting right, rather than a laundry list of ways in which they’ve failed.
If I hear a complaint such as, “she’s a bad communicator,” I might ask the feedback provider to tell me what “good communication” looks like to them. Do they want more transparency? More context? Or do they want quicker replies to emails? When I have this kind of specific information, I can deliver an actionable path forward for the client, rather than leaving them to figure out how to improve without any guidance.
This interview-based approach is not about sugar-coating the lousy stuff. It’s about shifting focus from negative to positive so that clients can more easily internalize feedback and invest in the creation of a new leadership vision for themselves and their team.
Are you interested in learning more about how a Shift+360 assessment could help you or someone you know? Let’s talk. https://expansiveleadershipcoaching.com/360-assessment/