Most companies have some form of 360-degree feedback process. In my decades of experience, I have yet to come across a type of 360-degree feedback that yields the results leaders are actually seeking. If you’re currently using a 360 method, I recommend abandoning it.

When my clients desire peer feedback, I get them what they want––but not by shifting the burden of acquiring feedback to some anonymous evaluation system. For those willing, I sit my client down across from their peers––in groups and one-on-one––and facilitate a conversation during which the peers give their candid answers to these four questions:

  1.  What is the leader doing that is working?
  2.  What is the leader doing that is not working?
  3.  What is the leader not doing that s/he should start?
  4. What other feedback do you have for the leader that would make him/her more effective?

When such a conversation is thoughtfully set up and facilitated, the leader learns for the first time what his or her people really think. The peers involved are acting completely in service of the leader, which causes the leader to experience a new and increased appreciation for his or her people.

The leader isn’t the only one who benefits from the exchange. The peers offering honest answers learn that they can provide genuine feedback to the leader––and the world does not end. Instead of being resisted or made wrong, they experience the last thing they expected: being heard.