Using 360 feedback to build bridges

Ralph Ellison once said that, "Education is all a matter of building bridges." This mindset can definitely apply to the business world, as it's important to keep open, two-way communication a constant factor in a company. Managers will greatly benefit when they are able to effectively work with team members and clearly establish expectations.

Through 360 degree feedback, leaders will be able to build a bridge between them and their employees. With a well-rounded appraisal, where individuals have their strengths highlighted and are given constructive feedback for how to become even stronger contributors, a positive culture of engagement can be created.

Charalambos Vlachoutsicos, an adjunct professor at Athens University in Greece, wrote a contribution piece for the Harvard Business Review, discussing the importance of managers taking the time to bridge gaps with team members. Specifically, he said, it's crucial that the process happens in a manner through which concerns are fully accommodated and arguments are avoided.

"Once the gap is actually bridged and you move forward you will pretty soon see that your interactions generate change," Vlachoutsicos wrote. "Through the give and take of communication, all sides come to feel that at least some of the differences between them are actually smaller and easier to live with than they appeared to begin with."

When employee evaluations happen, using a 360 feedback approach will ensure that managers are able to praise team members – further pushing productivity forward. In addition, employees can work with their immediate supervisor to create an action plan for continued growth.

The bridge of communication is also able to work both ways. A 360 leadership assessment allows managers to see what tactics employees respond well to and in which areas leaders can become even stronger. With this type of engagement, businesses will ensure that they stay productive with a positive working environment. 

Larry Cipolla