You’ve just been a participant in a 360-degree survey and you have now received your feedback report outlining your strengths and weaknesses, what you do well, and where you can improve. While it can be scary to get that report, you are off to a great start on a journey to improve!
As you put together a list of action items and things you want to work on, it’s important to keep in mind the extra benefit you’ll get as you follow up with your feedback providers as part of your 360. Experience has shown that following up with the people who gave you feedback providers in a 360-degree survey leads to improvement in leadership effectiveness.
What does it mean to follow up with feedback providers?
Following up means that you close the communication loop with your feedback providers after they have given you feedback. There are several specific messages you can share with them as you follow up:
- Thank them for their time in giving you feedback
- Share highlights of the feedback you received
- Share the actions that you are planning to take to improve your effectiveness
- Ask for additional feedback
What are the benefits of following up with feedback providers?
There are two main benefits to following up with your feedback providers:
- Co-workers perceive more improvement in leadership effectiveness when you follow up with them. Your follow-up helps them gain trust in your leadership because it is visible to them that you are working to improve.
- Improvement is contagious. If your feedback providers know you are working to improve, they will be more motivated to do the same thing themselves.
Who should I follow up with?
The most important people to follow up with are the ones you invited to give you feedback in the first place. They have taken some of their own time to provide thoughtful, meaningful feedback, and at the very least they deserve your thanks.
There might be other people with whom you could also follow up even if they weren’t formal feedback providers. You might have co-workers or an additional manager who were not invited to give you feedback. But if you make them aware that you participated in a 360, they might have some informal feedback to offer. They could also help motivate you if they are aware of the steps you are taking to improve based on the feedback you received.
When should I follow up?
Experience has shown that it is worthwhile to follow up with your feedback providers multiple times after the 360 process. You can send different messages each time. You could use the following timeline as an example:
- Immediately after you get your feedback report you could start with a simple thank you for the feedback that was provided.
- Once you have been able to review your report—maybe a few days or a week later—you could send highlights of the feedback you received.
- Once you have created an action plan, you could share it with your feedback providers—let them know what you plan to do based on the feedback they gave you.
- Finally, you could check in with them after a few months with an invitation to provide even more feedback with a question like, “How am I doing on my action plan from your perspective?” or “I’m trying to work on __________. How am I doing?”
How should I follow up?
The simplest way to follow up with feedback providers is with an email or other written communication or even a straightforward thank you card. It can be succinct and to the point, and it shows your feedback providers that you are being thoughtful as you process the results of your 360-degree survey.
It is also useful to follow up verbally. This can be more informal and off-the-cuff, but it still lets your feedback providers know that you are thinking about the feedback you received and gives them an opportunity to consider how you are doing on your plan of action.
In summary, following up with your feedback providers after participating in a 360 survey will help motivate you to incorporate the feedback you received into your behavior and make concrete steps to improve. In addition, your feedback providers will see your actions and perceive greater improvement in your leadership skills if they are included in your follow-up process.