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Enough with the mind reading: get a 360 feedback! Nov 02

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I find that a whole lot of people worry about how others perceive them. They worry, and that’s it. They don’t do anything to actually get a realistic view on the matter. At best, they just try to guess it, they try to mind read it and every once in a while, they ask a person they feel comfortable with what she thinks about them.

If what others think about you is something that’s on your mind, do yourself and your personal development a favor, and do something effective about it: get a proper 360 degrees feedback (aka 360).

A 360 is an assessment of your person, from multiple sources. It is usually given by supervisors, peers and subordinates. Clients, suppliers can also chip in, and even friends or family if you wanna get a perspective beyond you professional life.

I used a 360 degrees feedback for myself repeatedly and I often use it with clients. The fact that it is structured and rich in information makes the results very meaningful. You won’t find out perfectly how everybody sees you, but it’s certainty a lot more scientific than guessing.

I think there are 3 main things you can do with the information you gain from a 360 degrees feedback, other than just wondering why people think you’re selfish when you buy everybody Christmas presents:

  1. Discover the traits you project with ease in any situation and use this for personal branding.
  2. Discover the traits you repress, you hide from others, and use this for becoming more expressive.
  3. Discover your strengths and weaknesses you may not have been aware of, and use this for personal development.

Knowing about the tool is one thing. Using it effectively is another. Here are my top tips for making the most out of a 360:

  • Use a standardized questionnaire for everyone that gives you feedback;
  • Ask specific questions and use very clear phrasing;
  • Ask for feedback from people that know you and care about you;
  • Allow the option of anonymous feedback to help people be more honest;
  • Get feedback from at least 10 people to have representative results;
  • Remember that how others see you is not necessarily how you are.
  • Remember it’s just a feedback, not a flawless evaluation tool.

Getting a 360 degrees feedback takes some effort and most importantly, some courage. Most of us are not used to asking others for clear and specific feedback about ourselves. Asking for it is a statement that we are vulnerable to their perception and it’s a request for something some find risky to give: honest evaluations. Expect this to take you and them out of your comfort zones, and embrace it.

If you’re interested in a specific 360 degrees feedback tool, I recommend 360°Reach by William Arruda. It’s an online assessment that’s well designed, easy to use for personal development or branding, and you can try it free of charge for 15 days. So, enjoy it!

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25 Responses
  1. Steven says:

    Hey Eduard,

    thanks for the resourceful post, I’m going to go take a look at it thanks to you :)

    No more mind reading, because it simply takes too much energy!

    Steven
    Steven´s last blog ..Comic Lesson #3 : Don’t Worry Too Much About the Future My ComLuv Profile

  2. Hey what a great idea. I love getting feedback from people whether good or bad.

    It’s a bit of reality check and also lets me know what people think of me and how I behave. I think you have to adopt a bit of resilient attitude when receiving feedback.

    Never take it to heart or let it get you down. Take it with a bit of tounge and cheek as well because the last thing you want is to let it affect you in a bad way. It’s supposed to be a good thing so take it that way.

    Great post!
    Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..10 Reasons Why You Should Start Playing Badminton My ComLuv Profile

  3. Hey Eduard:

    Insightful post. I really like the practical tips, I will put the to use.

    Yet, the trouble that I have is finding the people who are willing to give honest feedback. I would love to hear some feedback after a failed interview, or a project. Yet, most people are reluctant to say why you didn’t get the job or what you did wrong. I am not sure why.

    You mentioned anonymity. But how can I be anonymous, when they are the only person who knows the answer? I can see this work in a work setting, where you ask for a feedback from a pool of people, but I cannot see it working too well in specific situations where you are trying to determine exactly what you did wrong as opposed to getting an overall evaluation of your strengths. Any ideas on how to deal with that?

    Best,
    Tomas

  4. Eduard says:

    Hey Tomas,

    Honesty form others can be a big challenge. I see one solution, which is not short term or a quick fix: you generally interact with people in a way that shows them you are open, receptive, can take any kind of feedback. This makes them open up more. In the end, I think you can’t control how honest others are, but you can influence it or make the best out of it.

    Have fun!

  5. It’s a hard thing. Many people say they want feedback when it’s the last thing they want. Often they really think they do want it until they get it:) The fact is, unless you’re a hermit living in absolute solitude, other people are going to be part of your life. The better you can deal with them, the easier your relationships will be.

    I think Tomas is spot on about something: a lot of people don’t want to give honest feedback. It can be helpful, if you can take it, to ask people who have nothing invested in you emotionally.

    Great post. Always a pleasure to be here, friend.
    Josh Hanagarne´s last blog ..What Conan The Destroyer Taught Me About Mental Toughness My ComLuv Profile

  6. Tristan Lee says:

    Hey Eduard. Thanks for this.

    It’s not just good to get feedback from your best friend. You need feedback from all different sources.

    However, I think the best feedback from anybody is yourself. Tell yourself you’re great everyday, and you won’t have to always worry about what other people think about you.
    Tristan Lee´s last blog ..The Illusion of Success My ComLuv Profile

  7. Eduard says:

    Tristan, I especially like this statement of yours: “the best feedback from anybody is yourself”. I think getting feedback from others should not come from a desperate need to please others. Rather from a mature need to relate better with others.

    Like Josh said above, other people are going to be part of your life (thx Josh).

  8. I’ve often used these kind of assessments over the years and find the feedback to be invaluable. It’s always interesting to see how others see me. Even though I’ve been self-employed my whole life, we self-employed can use colleagues and vendors who may turn out to be more honest without the constraints of employment. Openness to seeing what is in the opinion of others is always an opening to deeper realizations.
    Tom Volkar / Big Link Rally´s last blog ..Recognize Your Power For Good My ComLuv Profile

  9. Eduard says:

    Hi Tom,

    Self-employed people can benefit a lot from a 360 as well. I’m one of them. I often get feedback from clients to better understand the value that I provide for them and better promote my services.

  10. Great! I never thought of this. I’m sure someone would fire me in real life, so this could be a nice method to find it out :D
    Oscar – freestyle mind´s last blog ..Habit #5 – The Do Habit My ComLuv Profile

  11. Hmmm, interesting. I work with a lot of women and we’re constantly giving each other feedback that we rarely have to ask for it. I like your suggestion of the option for anonymous feedback. Now, if only people would fill out the darn evaluation forms…

  12. This reminds me of the times I ask my friends:
    Tell me 3 thinks you like about me and think are my strenghts.
    Tell me 3 areas where I need to improve.
    The only way I can respond is by saying thank you.
    Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Inner Productivity by Chris Edgar My ComLuv Profile

  13. Eduard says:

    I know Melinda. I often need to be insistent end explicit about how important the feedback is for me, to get other people to fill out the darn forms. This makes me realize a lot of people just don’t take feedback seriously.

    Tess, that can work too. A feedback form can be even more rich and effective. Plus, it can include o big list of traits that the people can choose from. This makes it more standardized.

  14. Hi Eduard.

    Nice point here. I like when I see pro-active material like this. Instead of worrying for nothing, you can listen to Eduard here and actually get some advice or information. It is always better to know more about yourself than to worry about lacking something.

    I learn more from 10 seconds of feedback than 2 months of worrying about some trait. The very few who reach for those 10 seconds of feedback are the ones who are able to jump ahead, and those who don’t remain stuck in worry.

    Nice going for pro-active measures.
    Armen Shirvanian´s last blog ..Competition Discussed By 8 Personal Development Writers My ComLuv Profile

  15. Good post. Critical feedback can be good in determining where to make changes, but then at times it can be a sign that peoples buttons are being pushed and they are resisting change in themselves

  16. Karlil says:

    Usually I asked them for feedbacks. It’s a great way to improve myself. On a sidenote, I can see you’re a big fan of Steve Pavlina, not that I’m surprised. The man has got one of the best personal development site after all.
    Karlil´s last blog ..Apple Case Study: The Making Of Devoted Followers My ComLuv Profile

  17. Eduard says:

    I am. But I will link more to other personal development blogs as well in the future.

  18. I love getting feedback from friends and colleagues. They usually tell me something about myself that I never realized. I recently got feedback from my wife. She told me that sometimes my blog posts aren’t as tight as they could be. At first it kinda hurts, but I always listen and usually after I get a chance to process what the person said I can improve myself in some way.

  19. Eduard says:

    Hey Karl,

    I know the feeling. When I last got a 360, a lot of people told my I was organized. I never saw that one coming; always thought of myself as pretty disorganized. But eventually, I understood their point.

    I also think feedback is best when it’s specific. That’s why I hope your wife added more details after telling you sometimes your posts aren’t “as they could be”.

  20. Thanks for the practical advice, Eduard. I totally agree we should get the feedback in order for us to learn to interact better with people, not out of desperation to please them. I also like the fact that it can help us see our strengths and weaknesses better which is a very important information.
    Lana – DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..Why Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work My ComLuv Profile

  21. Srinivas Rao says:

    Hey Eduard,

    I think it’s a great idea. Most people are afraid of hearing negative things about them. I don’t like hearing it, but sometimes I need to because it enables me to make changes for the better.
    Srinivas Rao´s last blog ..How to be a connector Part II: World Domination My ComLuv Profile

  22. Eduard says:

    Hey Srini,

    Fear can be big saboteur for our personal development.

  23. Hello Eduard. I think 360 feedback can be very useful. The biggest problem is that people use it to work on their weaknesses. They should use it to enhance and leverage their strengths. You are most productive focusing on what you do well.
    Stephen – Rat Race Trap´s last blog ..Should You Trust Your Intuition? – Part II My ComLuv Profile

  24. Eduard says:

    I’ve noticed this as well. I think you can influence it to some degree, by making the feedback form so that it focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses.

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