How to conduct a face-to-face 360 degree feedback debrief

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At Bowland Solutions, we offer an end-to-end process in helping our clients ensure that the 360 degree appraisal cycle is successful in every way – I have mentioned many times that it is the ‘human element’ which is of greatest importance…what do I mean by this?

I believe that it is the sharing of the feedback with the recipient which is one of the most crucial stages in the whole process – the human interaction between the recipient, and as we call them, the ‘debriefer’.

We provide training to the internal HR team in organisations to be able to conduct these 1-2-1 sessions with the recipient and this begins with clearly defining the role of the debriefer.

As a debriefer, you do not own the report, rather you are there to act as an intermediary between the report and the recipient – you are there to facilitate their understanding of the feedback and enable them to effectively act upon it.

This sounds easy and very much like common sense, but all too often we see debriefers feel that their role is to own the report, add their own judgement and opinion, and very quickly move to resolving the issues highlighted in the report.

There is much greater value in simply allowing the recipient to understand what is being said within the report, so that they own the feedback, both positive and negative, and that they come away with a balanced view.

In both helping to raise their self-awareness and enabling them to own the feedback, the recipient is far more likely to then feel responsible for undertaking any actions that are required as a result.

Once this key distinction is made on the part of the debriefer, it reduces the pressure often felt by a debriefer, particularly if they feel the feedback is negative, and ensures maximum value is derived from the 360 feedback process for the recipient.

A practical way for anybody sharing feedback with a recipient would be to state this intention at the beginning of the session by saying "I am simply here to ensure you understand this report".


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