How to have a meaningful conversation about 360 degree feedback – Part 3 of 6

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Preparation – what to look for in a report

Having considered the key skills of the debriefer in Part 2 and with a clear understanding of the debriefer’s role in Part 1, we can now prepare for the debrief session itself by reading the report with a view to using it to steer the conversation to it’s best conclusion.
You should read the report several times before a debrief, and preferably some time before the debrief session itself; the unconscious mind is wonderful at spotting themes and joining dots.
The key elements to look for in the report can be broadly defined as follows:
  • Overall impression – what are the high-level themes?
  • Consistency of the feedback – is the self-assessment in line with others feedback? Is there consistent feedback from different types of respondent?
  • Key points from the comments – how does the narrative support the ratings?
  • Key strengths – which may not necessarily be identified as clear-cut competencies, but could be more nuanced than that
  • Key development areas – again, these may not necessarily be identified as those behaviours rated lowest

Notwithstanding your own assessment of the 360 degree feedback; context is everything and until you are sat opposite the recipient, hearing in their own words how they perceive the world, you will never have the full story.

Be comfortable going into a debrief that you don’t have answers, a defining analysis or interpretation – ambiguity and wonder should be feelings more likely at play if you are to conduct the debrief with an open mind.



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