360 Feedback: Feedback from Subordinates

Getting feedback about your leadership and managerial methods is absolutely vital to improvement. It offers insight in to how your employees perceive you, where you excel, and where you may be falling short, but it isn’t all that easy to obtain, as many employees are hesitant to criticise their superiors. This is one of the reasons our 360 feedback surveys operate anonymously.

There have been differing methods of gaining feedback from subordinates. Julius Caesar was well-known for touring the front lines of his army, intent on rallying the troops, ensuring that they knew he was fighting alongside them, and evaluating the performance and feedback of his generals first-hand. He knew that staying personally on top of any issues, and knowing the inner workings of a team, is vital to effective and productive management.

Asking your employees for feedback directly, and often, creates an atmosphere of communication within the group. Encouraging broad and inclusive discussion keeps issues out in the open, and allows them to be fleshed out immediately among each stakeholder or worker within a project.

There are psychological elements as well. Asking for feedback makes your employers feel as though they are active participants in the management of the firm, by taking their accolades and criticism seriously, and adopting them in to their routine. This invokes a team attitude, and encourages them to work like stakeholders in league with the company.

At Leaderskill, we believe constant improvement is the path to greater success. Our 360 feedback allows your managerial staff the chance to learn from their subordinates, and take these lessons on board.

Contact Leaderskill to access Australia’s finest leadership resource team at 1300 769 909.

Employee Feedback

This is an ‘edgy’ post. We in no way condone what the protagonist in this piece did to others during his lifetime. In fact, most of what he did goes completely against everything we believe in and strive to achieve in our society. It actually makes us a bit uncomfortable to include it here.

So why put it in at all? Three reasons: one – it is sometimes good to know how people become successful – even people we don’t like and don’t want to emulate in any way. We can still learn from them (if only how to think of ways to prevent their success in the future!) Two – this story shows that bringing people together, for whatever purpose, requires developing relationships, continually learning from each other and improving. Three – it is worth remembering that even the very best tools for development can sometimes be double-edged swords. They have to be used in the right way for the right purposes or they can have serious consequences. This is something we, in our daily work with our clients, keep in mind from the start of every project.

So, with all that said, enjoy the read!

An unlikely ‘hero’ in the debate on leadership styles has emerged from continuing research into the life and empire of Genghis Khan(!) An empire that has known no rival in the eight hundred years since his death. A man with a reputation for utter ruthlessness and unrivalled cruelty. However, there is one surprising truth: if any historical figure could vouch for the notion of ‘employee survey‘, it could be this one.

Khan’s empire spanned a region of some 12 million square kilometres at the time of his death. His forays in to China and the Middle East have earned him both a profound respect and a simmering hatred, depending on the standpoint. There is no doubt that his abilities as a wartime leader were unassailable. But most importantly, in a region of the world torn by sectarian strife between warring tribes, the genius of this man lay in his ability to unite. The Khan made a habit of acting the mediator.

His ability to foment agreements between warring parties was not due to a winning smile or threats of reprisal. Khan used his position to encourage parties come to general agreements. He forgot few of those around him, and used multiple parties to evaluate those in whom he placed trust. He was merit-based, rather than authoritative, and used a primitive form of employee survey to evaluate these traits.

It’s an odd comparison, but one of the reasons he was able to maintain his empire was the love he gained from his countrymen. While allowing his fearsome reputation to flourish outside his borders – to ease the difficulty in military campaigns, by striking fear – Genghis Khan used many of the same tenets of 360 degree leadership to maintain the world’s greatest empire, through direct dialogue and through multiple sources of intelligence.

We think it can work for you too. And we insist there will be no blood-letting! In fact we will explain the part that Khan never knew – the part that engages people and gets them working together collaboratively from their strengths, without fear. And managers say they love it!

Contact Leaderskill to access Australia’s finest leadership resource team at 1300 769 909.

360 Feedback

The methodology behind offering employee feedback has changed considerably in recent years. Far from the top-down method of yesteryear, when only immediate managers were offering their judgement of a workers’ performance, this process has been altered as more stakeholders have had their input heard. Managers have realised the importance of gaining a better picture of their worker, and what they have to offer, in order to make them happier and more productive on the job.

A more detailed picture of an employee helps to uncover the best usage of their talents and particular skill set. 360 feedback is perhaps the finest application of the methodology which lies behind forming this detailed picture. Using a wide variety of sources, from co-workers to direct and indirect management, to the employee themselves, works to offer the company a wide range of examples of the contributions and preferences of the employee. It departs from any squabbles between the employee and his managers. In short, it paints a far more detailed picture.

At Leaderskill, our wide body of experience has confirmed our devotion to this particular method of feedback. We have seen its effectiveness across hugely diverse corporate and social groups, and we don’t believe that our faith in 360 feedback is at all misplaced. We maintain a devotion to the concept that a satisfied employee will work at their personal peak, and the first step to finding their happiest niche is to understand them.

Whether you are a newcomer to this method of employee engagement and improvement, or simply ready to reemploy it, Leaderskill has your employee engagement ready. Let us transform the way you gain insight in to your employees.

Contact us today.

Contact Leaderskill to access Australia’s finest leadership resource team at 1300 769 909

User-friendly online surveys

Why positive psychology works

Given its effects on human behaviour and motivation, there is strong reason to believe that positive psychology is a key to improving managerial performance.

Still a relatively new area of psychology – and certainly one that is yet to gain recognition in all circles – positive psychology is nonetheless growing in credibility as organisations around the world explore its merits. In an age where employee engagement at all levels is so crucial, the theory of positive psychology could hold the key to providing workplace feedback in a constructive way.

What does positive psychology achieve?

Pioneered by the University of Pennsylvania’s Martin Seligman, positive psychology does exactly what it says on the cover – espouse the notion that a positive approach focusing on strengths is most beneficial to the human psyche. In this light, employee feedback surveys that point out and draw attention to a manager’s flaws may actually be more harmful than beneficial, whereas a more positive way of providing feedback builds performance and morale.

Positive psychology isn’t just about papering over the cracks and making sure everyone is happy, however – rather, it’s about striking a more healthy balance between the good and the not-so-good. According to the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center – of which Martin Seligman is director – psychology from World War II onwards has focused on identifying and remedying psychological problems. While this worked in addressing issues on the surface and has progressed psychological research, it has focused far too little on “what makes life most worth living”.

Ensure strengths are highlighted

The purpose of positive psychology is to make sure strengths as well as weaknesses are highlighted, and constructive feedback is provided for improvement. Note that it doesn’t just brush away one’s weaknesses, as these are also crucial to development – instead, it focuses on the strengths and uses them as a springboard for personal improvement.

Adopting a positive psychology approach to 360 degree feedback

360 degree surveys that are based on the Leader/Manager model have positive psychology at its core, pinpointing a manager’s key strengths and using these to guide performance improvement. Instead of criticising their flaws, managers are informed on what to do more of and less of in order to develop into a better leader.

Leadership development with 360 degree feedback

The value of happiness in the workplace

Positive feedback is crucial in the workplace, as happier employees are more likely to achieve success, according to a Haas School of Business study. While traditional workplace reviews have focused on what individuals should improve or do better, a 360 degree survey based on Leaderskill’s Leader/Manager Model™ is designed to promote the strengths and positives.

This is an important consideration in any organisation, as affirmative emotions have been proven to increase productivity and morale.

Benefits of positive emotions at work

A study from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley reveals that positive emotions in the workplace can result in three particular beneficial employee outcomes. With a focus on affirmative feedback, individuals are likely to experience increased work achievement, job enrichment and a “supportive social context”.

Essentially, this refers to an environment in which colleagues are more supportive of happier individuals, due to the mutually beneficial rewards of positivity.

Happiness and positive feedback is not only advantageous for the recipient, according to the Haas study. In fact, positivity can change the perceptions and relationships within a working environment. When one employee expresses positive emotions, others are more likely to look favourably upon that person.

Positivity builds morale

The person feeling happy is also likely to respond positively to their colleagues, increasing their willingness to help others and create social bonds.

This is not only likely to build morale and enthusiasm, but can also improve productivity due to “enhanced cognitive functioning”, the report explained. Furthermore, positive emotions often result in people feeling more optimistic about success, leading to improved outcomes due to the internal belief that achievements are possible.

Strengths based feedback offers a positive approach

With this in mind, it is easy to see why providing affirmative, strengths-based feedback is important. While employee reviews are a crucial part of any workplace environment, negativity and criticism often cause concern and upset among the individual recipients.

Fortunately, quality employee engagement outcomes can easily be achieved with a facilitated Leader/Manager 360 degree survey. By investing in this low-threat solution, employers can encourage workers to share strengths-based feedback that inspires positive emotions.

Developing Leaders

The importance of receiving positive feedback

Positive employee feedback is a vital consideration for any business environment, as managers and workers can benefit from increased confidence.

Businesses require the right conditions to thrive in the increasingly competitive corporate world. Having a confident team at the helm is one of the defining factors to growth and success.

Leader behaviour is reflected in employees

Employees often reflect their managers in their work, experiencing similar levels of motivation, productivity and sentiment. It is therefore beneficial to ensure that the leaders in the workplace are supported and maintain high levels of confidence and self-esteem.

In the working environment, it is easy for negatives to be blown out of proportion. As mistakes and negligence often have a more significant impact on operations, feedback relating to these incidents is often the loudest.

Negativity erodes confidence

However, the worker is more likely to lose confidence when the majority of feedback offered to an individual is negative, according to a recent article from Forbes. Additionally, this could influence a drop in creativity and innovation as the person prefers to stick with the status quo, rather than to try something new and fail.

Positive feedback is crucial

With this in mind, it is simple to see why positive feedback is crucial in a business setting. Not only will acknowledgement of an individual’s strengths promote self-confidence, but this can also boost the team dynamic in a number of other ways, including:

  • Encouraging desired behaviour – By identifying the actions that have a positive impact, individuals can focus their efforts on these particular behaviours.
  • Increased motivation – Praise is an important factor in keeping workers moving towards their goals. Positive feedback will ensure they remain on the right path and work hard to continue their success.
  • More tangible value – It can sometimes be hard to know whether your efforts are being recognised, so regular positive feedback is important for boosting individuals’ sense of self-worth.

Of course, it can be difficult to encourage employees to offer feedback on their managers and workplace leaders. That is why a Leader/Manager 360 degree survey is so beneficial, as this is one form of feedback that not only supports employees in providing the feedback, but it also gives immediately actionable feedback to the manager for his/her development.

Successful 360 degree feedback using Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is at the core of 360 degree surveys that are based on Leaderskill’s Leader/Manager Model™. In essence, AI revolves around the belief that what you focus on is what grows – if you highlight and draw attention to someone’s strengths, they are likely to develop.

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