We’ve all done them. Some once, others twice a year. I am of course talking about performance reviews or appraisals. Every 6-12 months we sit down with our bosses and chat through our achievements and/or areas for further development.
For some of you this process might also include gathering 360-degree feedback from a number of sources, including your peers, direct reports, more senior colleagues and even clients. This broad mix of feedback can offer both you and your boss a far more wide-reaching perspective on your performance and helps to make appraisals a more objective and fair process.
But here’s the thing, why don’t we do the same in our personal lives?
It makes sense that, if we want to build extraordinary lives, the relationships we have with those around us are of paramount importance. Yet some of us don’t spend as much time as we should reflecting on our connectivity with others or indeed how we make such individuals feel during our encounters with them.
So, why don’t we collate 360-degree feedback from friends and loved ones? I appreciate some of you will say that this should be happening on an on-going basis with these people anyway, but is it really?
I can spend hours musing and writing about the virtues and benefits of heightened emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and of course relationship management) to relieve everyday stresses, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
And what can be a better place to start than by asking those around you for input into the impact your behaviour, communication style etc has on them? A “360 Life Review” or full-circle review will offer you multiple perspectives on your life skills, abilities and behaviours, which you can then use to pull together a self-development action plan for your home lives.
Below are a few of my top tips to help create your own 360 Life Review.
- Make a list of the most important people in your lives and who you interact with on a regular basis. The obvious ones are partners, family, friends etc. Others can include work colleagues (those you feel most comfortable asking), neighbours and any other significant people you want to include. I personally used Post-it notes on a wall to visualise my immediate universe.
- Think of open-ended questions you’d like to ask them. Keep them sensible! Areas to cover might include feedback on your communication style, what you have done or do well, areas where you need to pay more attention etc. It’s also worth asking – if you could give me one piece of advice on my relationship with you what would that be or if you could make one request of me what would that be? There is no right or wrong, think about what is most important to you and use that as a foundation for your questions.
- Contact each person individually and explain to them what you’re doing and why. Ask them for their honest feedback and reassure them that you won’t get angry or upset if some of their thoughts / suggestions are negative.
- Keep an open mind! When you start to receive feedback, instead of just taking others’ words on face value try to understand their perspectives of you. Think back on the events or conversations that may have formed their opinions of you. And don’t obsess on the negatives or indeed simply skip to the positives. Take your time to process all the feedback – the good, the bad and the ugly.
- Identify areas of improvement (we all have some, none of us are perfect) and then formulate a robust targeted action plan. Don’t just dismiss what you’re reading or hearing and go into sulk…remember this is about self-improvement.
- Repeat the same exercise every 6-12 months. We are all constantly evolving as individuals so this can never be a ‘done it once, job done’ attitude. The whole point of this is about continuous improvement.
Let me finish off by saying this, the most important aspects of this exercise are being honest and genuinely interested in self-improvement. If you aren’t, don’t bother as you can’t ask others for their input and then disregard anything you don’t like the sound of – it goes against the spirit of 360 appraisals and certainly won’t help you move forward positively.
Being in lockdown has enabled many of us take stock of our lives and re-think what is important to us. I hope this simple exercise will help lots of you recalibrate some of those relationships that may have slipped into autopilot and lost some of the joy they bring.
And next time perhaps look beyond relationships and think about including your mental, physical, and financial health into your 360 Life Reviews too.
Sanu Miah, founder