Leadership Development and 360-Degree Assessments

How to Use 360 Degree Feedback for Leadership Development & Organizational Learning

The strength of an organization is strongly related to the development of its leaders. And the best leaders regularly seek out feedback to identify areas they need to work on. 360-degree assessments are some of the simplest and most powerful ways to get honest and actionable feedback from others. In this post, we will investigate the nature of a 360-degree assessments and the benefits they hold for leadership development.

360-Degree or Multi-Source Feedback

It can be difficult for leaders to get honest feedback from others, especially direct reports. Multi-source feedback (i.e., 360-degree assessments) emphasizes the importance of getting information from multiple sources. These assessments often include a self-assessment from the person who is being evaluated along with an assessment from supervisors, peers, and direct reports. Some multi-source processes collect information through face-to-face interviews, while others are entirely electronic. In either case, 360-degree assessments benefit corporate leaders by collecting information on the most important issues related to professional success and presenting the synthesized results in a way that is understandable and actionable.

360-Degree Feedback for Leadership Development

There is no simple formula for developing successful leaders, which is why generic leadership development programs don’t always yield successful results. 360-degree feedback is an effective leadership development tool because each feedback report addresses the specific leadership needs of the individual undergoing the assessment. After getting a comprehensive assessment of strengths and weaknesses, individuals can then work on the specific skills and behaviors that will make him or her a more effective leader. The best 360-degree assessments help users transform feedback into into action plans that target leadership development goals. Mentors and coaches can be very helpful in this step of the process by providing insight, guidance and accountability.

Conditions for Success With 360-Degree Feedback

Not all 360-degree feedback tools and processes produce the same results. Because critical feedback can be difficult to receive, organizations must contextualize the process in a culture of growth and development. Employees need to understand that the purpose of the feedback is to help them improve their skills and not to punish them., Feedback is most likely to result in positive change when recipients believe change is achievable, so taking action toward specific leadership developmental goals is critical to the success of a 360-degree feedback program.


360-degree tools can be extremely effective in developing leaders and their skills. But they must be used within a larger talent management strategy that focuses on the growth and development of all employees. In order to get the most out of the process, companies need to prepare participants for the feedback and development process, manage participant perceptions of the process, and integrate the process into the organizational system. Our team at G360 Surveys has decades of experience implementing performance management processes. Integrate multi-source feedback into your talent management system by contacting G360 Surveys.