Hello SOTGC Community,
How to Define Yourself as a Leader: Part 6
Welcome to the “How to Define Yourself as a Leader” saga. During the next few months we’ll be listing out some key steps to take when starting down the path of professional development to get that promotion you want. Some of them are what I myself did, and some are tips from executive leaders, from many industries, that I interviewed. This saga will share the feedback I got and delve into how to apply them in your everyday work life.
Below are the previous posts in this saga:
Part 1: Dress for the Next Level Up
Part 2: The Perception Your Peers Have of You Does Matter
Part 3: Eyes Are Always on You
Part 4: 5 Words Your Leadership Team Should Describe You As
Part 5: 5 Things to Avoid Doing at Work
Today’s Topic: The Importance and Purpose of a 360 Review
There are mixed thoughts on 360 reviews, and, to be honest, they can be a rather embarrassing and eye opening process. However, if you want to move forward towards that promotion or new role, you have to be willing to go through the process. Here are my tips on the why, how, process, and move forward for a successful 360 review.
Note: these are BEST done when you interact regularly with the people reviewing you. If you work in an office environment, it’s easy to pick the people to include in the review. If you’re in outside sales or have a remote job where you don’t interact with many people, it gets harder. You need people who interact regularly with you to see if you’ve made improvement once you get the feedback and start to make changes.
Why: When you’re hard working, have proven yourself, and you still feel that your career has stagnated and you don’t know why, THAT is the time to request a 360 review. It HAS to come from a place of wanting to improve so don’t go into it thinking you will be justified in your assumptions of what or who has been holding you back. You have to be honest with yourself and say, “There are things I need to work on, and this process will tell me what they are.”
How: Request a meeting or call with your manager. Let your manager know you’ve reached a point where you feel you have more to offer and that you’d like to do a 360 review to get some feedback from your peers and upper-level management to see how you could improve. Tell your manager your goals and what you want to accomplish from this process so they understand the return on investment for this 360 review process.
The Process: They will usually ask you to pick, or they will pick, a group of people that will give anonymous feedback on your strengths, weaknesses, and any other information that will get you started on the road to success.
Some of the feedback you get will be positive, but be ready for the “ways to improve” because it’s NEVER fun to hear that you are lacking in certain areas. The best advice I can give anyone undergoing this process is NOT to take anything personally. The people reviewing you are giving you honest feedback because you asked for it.
Move Forward: My 360 review was very informal. I polled three people who have known me for years and had a decent amount of interaction with me at my company. I polled my new mentor and my direct teammate (I was in a super territory with another account manager, which means we worked closely together on a day-to-day basis). After those reviews, I went home and cried. I took the rest of the weekend to really think about what they felt I needed to work on, and I had to make a decision if it was worth the sacrifice.
Remember that when you want to take a higher role in your company, you will make a LOT of sacrifices. If attaining your goal is worth it, then move forward and don’t look back. The sacrifices I had to make were:
• Thinking before I give an opinion or feedback that wasn’t positive, and making sure I worded my questions and concerns in a manner that conveyed I was on board but wanted to figure out how certain things would be accomplished.
• As one of my favorite VPs said, I had to go from “me to we.” This meant that I had to look at everything from a standpoint of “how will this benefit the company as a whole, and what will MY reaction do to help or hinder this forward movement?”
• Edit and filter. Ask any of my family and friends, I tend to be “off the cuff” and speak my mind. Some people really enjoy this because they know exactly where they stand with me. Others do not like it because they feel it’s too direct or that I “have no filter.” This will always be a work in progress for me, but I’ve gotten much better at “filtering” in work situations. This was the greatest sacrifice I had to make, changing a behavior that was intrinsically “me” to accomplish the goal I wanted. Do I slip on occasion? Yes, but overall I decided the sacrifice was worth achieving what I set out to do. And I got the role and promotion I wanted because of the changes I made.
Next Topic: Emotional Intelligence and Self-Awareness