Thursday, May 21, 2009

Transparency, Predictability and Consistency in Relationships

The 360 Degree Feedback survey and process that’s been very popular in the secular world over the past ten years or so delivers for many, mixed results. Some like the feedback and some don’t. The process has as key tenets, some 80-odd (1-10 rated) questions on the skills, abilities and attitudes of the person requesting feedback, as well as free text commentary feedback.

It is sent confidentially to a group of between 5-20 people (generally) and one of these must be the Candidate’s manager. Everyone is given two weeks to respond. Once the surveys are completed and collated, the results are sent back to the Candidate, who has the opportunity, with coaching, to reflect over the results and provide feedback on proposed improvements to those who’ve completed the survey, completing the 360 degree (full circle) loop.

The Candidate themselves also answers the questions to enable them to understand any significant differences and gaps in their own perceptions as compared to that of their peers and superiors.

That, in a nutshell, is the 360 Degree Feedback process.

I completed this process myself for the first time recently and I found it to be probably the best tool I’ve seen to give me insight around people’s honest perceptions of me, my skills, abilities and attitudes. I had heard that it could be invasive but that is not my experience.

One thing I did learn through the post-survey coaching process was the importance of transparency, predictability and consistency in relationships. I wasn’t marked lowly on these attributes; in fact, a coach led me to see my results spoke of these attributes.

A connection was made for me in the analysis of the results which suggested that--for people I relate with--these three attributes provide them with some certainty and safety in our interactions together.

With these qualities, people see us as amiable and approachable, and probably also teachable--important character traits for anyone. In any role these days there’s the factor of customer service, as all our interactions in business life tend to revolve around supplier-customer transactions, even if it’s only around communications.

Being the sort of person people feel comfortable with is critical in any team, business or ministry role. When we’re intentionally transparent, predictable in our reactions to things and consistent in our approach, this is good for everyone, ourselves included.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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