A recent article in the Guardian suggests how leaders can become exceptional through encouraging honest face-to-face feedback rather than relying on the anonymous feedback often associated with 360 degree feedback.
To all intents and purposes, we would agree that an organisational culture which can support open, honest, face-to-face feedback which is given well and received well, is a desirable state – leadership should indeed encourage and lead by example in fostering such an environment.
However, 360 degree feedback still has a place as a formal, structured way of gathering feedback which should complement such conversation; it isn't "either/or".
If a leader/organisation can encourage honest, open face-to-face feedback, then they can similarly encourage 360 degree feedback which is also honest, constructive and insightful for the recipient.
Beyond the individual, the recording of feedback in this way, allows the organisation to view the aggregated picture, and this is where greater value can be derived from the 360 degree feedback process; both in identifying wider trends across the business which help prioritise learning & development needs, and then further still in drawing out strategically important issues for the organisation which would be lost if only informal conversations were taking place.
Let's have both; informal conversations and structured feedback, and glean insight from both that improves leadership and business performance.