Like all other spheres, people in HR and talent-development arena are always looking for a new tool. Currently, data analytics is capturing attention of business leaders finding a fresh way to improve performance, productivity, and talent alignment.

However, as much as we embrace it, there are still tried-and-tested talent-development methods that, when applied appropriately, can be integral components of HR programs designed to get the most out of people. Of them, 360-degree feedback process is one of the best.

In the HR realm, the 360 Feedback is the precursor of People Analytics. Not only does it provide a broader view of performance, it also enables you to sort data in numerous ways. As a multi-dimensional leadership development tool, 360-degree feedback allows you to receive clear, actionable feedback from your peers, employees and managers, thus helping you improve your performance and manage people more efficiently. Additionally, as there are multiple perspectives involved, 360-degree feedback is much more comprehensive and less prone to individual bias.

Here are a few points you might want to consider when carrying out 360-degree feedback for leadership development:

Educate the Team

If your workforce doesn’t have a clear definition of leadership or has conflicting views, why not address the question to your employees?

While you would know your company’s strategy and vision as a leader, your employees can tell you how to achieve it. Educate your team on your intentions, the objectives, the process and the importance of keeping your 360 feedback confidential to make the most of this tool. Find out from you team members whether the managers are walking the talk and if your strategy is being implemented on the ground. Ask employees about the behaviors they admire in their peers, direct reports or managers.

One of the biggest impediments to changing a company culture and delivering on a strategic vision is managerial engagement. With 360 Feedback, you can unravel the current state of play.

Assess Leadership

Once you have defined the qualities and traits needed to become a leader in your organisation and have educated your team, it’s time to assess your current crop of leaders and identify new high potentials.

Ask a leader’s direct reports, peers and managers to assess them against this leadership criteria. This will ultimately give you an idea of a leader’s strengths and weaknesses and allow you to highlight areas for professional development. Using the results of 360 Feedback, you can also create tailored training programs to develop certain leadership skills.

Have a Crystal Clear Idea

It’s important to be clear on what you’re going to use the 360 feedback for. I advise that you don’t succumb to the temptation of secretly using the results of your direct reports for performance decisions.

Also, avoid to suggest a 360 feedback process for an under-performing employee. Rather, be courageous and have an authentic conversation with the individual about their performance and find ways to improve it.

Monitor Progress and Growth

Leaders naturally have an aversion to micromanagement. In fact, one of the most significant drivers for job satisfaction among leaders is autonomy. This is why it can be challenging to combine performance measurement as well as let your leaders do their thing.

360 Feedback offers a less intrusive way of monitoring leaders. The results can prove to be quite useful for leaders as well since it allows them to see how their team perceives them — in contrast to simply hitting targets or having one-to-one appraisals with a manager.

360 Feedback shows how one is viewed as a leader in the truest sense – how much they inspire and motivate team members, or how their efforts to drive change and improvements are being considered.