"Oh what a great gift we would have If we could only see ourselves as others see us."
- Robert Burns
360-Degree feedback enables employees to receive feedback from a wider circle of people instead of just the immediate supervisor. The source of feedback can be colleagues, immediate subordinates, internal and external customers. The feedback should come from those who interact with the employee, directly or indirectly in their professional capacity.
Introducing the 360-Degree feedback system in an organization represents a dramatic change from the traditional ways in which assessments are done. It calls for greater participation amongst employees. It also requires a mindset that calls for a lot of openness and maturity to handle feedback that may not be positive.
In traditional organization structures, the supervisors could claim to know more than their subordinates and there was a need for constant supervision. Multi-disciplinary teams did not exist. Today, individuals work on multiple assignments, are specialists and have greater autonomy. In this environment, feedback from multiple sources provides a balanced and more accurate picture of an employee’s performance.
The feedback provided by those with whom the employee interacts regularly at work has greater validity, accuracy and credibility. The first hand experience of colleagues offers insight about work behaviour that a supervisor may not be able to observe directly.
Some of the reasons why this feedback serves as an important tool especially for people in leadership positions: