It is every leader’s dream to have an entire team of high performers who have no place to go but up.  However before that is even plausible, you have to determine who possesses the necessary criteria to be great. One or two might stand out, but what about the unsung heroes of the company who come in and provide a great service, however are often over looked?

Depending on the size of your team it may be difficult to keep your eye on every employee at all times, so at one point or another you may have to rely on a fellow leader or team member’s input to assess an individual.  According to Charles Stewart and William Cash Jr., in their book, Interviewing: Principles and Practices they speak in detail about the “360-Degree Approach”.  It is helpful in the sense that it, “enables organizational members to receive feedback on their performance, usually anonymously, from all major constituencies they serve”.

The reason that this approach has become popular, especially among Fortune 500 companies, is that it will allow a leader to constantly observe a team member through multiple vantage points.  Now this approach is not without its potential faults.  Due to the anonymity of the evaluators and the quantitative data instead of qualitative, the team member’s direct supervisor has to verify the information and proceed from there.

Praise, recognition, and feedback are essential after the team member has been noticed.    If someone does something well and they are praised for it, just by providing recognition, they are likely to maintain that work ethic and become more inclined to try and better themselves.

In a previous blog I wrote about the importance of preparing for Millennials in the workplace and a few ways that they differ from other generations.  The future of our organizations will be with the Millennial generation and, while feedback is important at all times, when it pertains to Millennials it is mandatory.  This generation of younger people expects instant gratification and without feedback they will never know when they do something well.

Millennials share the mindset that constant evolution is a requirement in today’s organizations and they are prepared to be and do whatever is expected of them.  If they are performing and not receiving timely positive feedback, Millennials believe that they are doing something incorrectly and will try and alter their behavior.  Feedback creates consistency, and consistency creates results.

It is possible to have an entire team of high performers; but it takes extra work.  Never allow the 360-Degree Approach to substitute face to face evaluations, however utilize it in your own evaluations.  Not only will it give information of a team member, but you will also have the chance to assess the evaluation skills of the evaluator.

Is the 360-Degree Approach something that you feel you would be able to utilize in the workplace?

Additional References and Readings:
Recognition tips
Does employee recognition still matter?

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