360 assessments are a rounded way of looking at an individual’s current skills and performance. The Ten Six 360 Assessment for Project Managers is an on-line tool that looks at character strengths. It’s a great way to provide structured feedback and it can form the basis of a leadership development plan.
Here’s how it works. First, the project manager assesses their own strengths. This is supplemented by assessments from four to eight colleagues, who could be managers, subordinates, peers or customers. The aim is to get a view from what it is like to manage, be managed by and work with the individual being assessed, so a broad range of contributors is best.
The concept of 360 feedback has been around a long time and it’s a proven leadership development tool. Beyond the data that comes out of the tool, which is interesting for the individual, you can also see business benefits through improved leadership and subsequently, increased project results.
Here are 5 reasons to do 360 assessments with your team.
1. Increased self-awareness
People who go through the 360 assessment process gain increased self-awareness. They have a better idea of their strengths and weaknesses as perceived by their colleagues.
The assessment looks at personality traits and teaches that the project manager is responsible for how these traits influence others. In some cases, the project manager can generate positive influence, but they can also identify areas in which their influence declines because of the way their personality traits are used.
The insights from 360 assessments enable project managers to take charge of how they come across at work to best flex their management and leadership styles for greater project success.
2. Improved project team motivation
Project managers who are not good leaders present a risk to the organization. Successful leaders can identify when team burnout is a possibility and turn around dissatisfied customers. Successful leaders have fewer incidents of overspending on projects and meet more deadlines. In turn, this all contributes to profitability – being able to successfully lead a team really does contribute to the bottom line.
Teams that are led by self-aware project managers tend to have higher levels of motivation and satisfaction. A project manager who can demonstrate their emotional intelligence (EQ) at work can engage team members as individuals. Strong leaders have the ability to create a positive work environment where teams can do their best work.
EQ is not fixed. Project managers can improve their EQ through self-awareness and mastery. In turn, this can show a progressive improvement in the project team environment.
3. Improved stakeholder satisfaction
Project managers with higher EQ are better leaders, as we’ve seen. Leadership influences so much of how a project manager and team perform including the ability to engage with stakeholders. Project managers who can effectively engage with others also have more satisfied stakeholders.
This can reduce conflict and improve negotiating positions on projects. When clients are more engaged with the work, they have a greater appreciation for how their own processes and decisions impact the project team. In turn, the team can work more effectively.
4. Better talent management
Talent management is a way of supporting individuals in the business to become the leaders of tomorrow and reach their full potential. A 360 feedback exercise can identify candidates for fast-track management positions and help HR teams plan for talent management.
It also gives project managers the chance to see where they could personally improve their skills. After the tool is complete, participants have the opportunity to sit with a coach and review what the feedback means. This often turns into a discussion about future career opportunities that would be open to the individual, given strengths shown in the assessment.
The project manager can use that information for career planning, and if the business is supportive of those plans, this can help with retaining experienced project managers.
5. Improved functional competence
While much of a 360 assessment helps leaders improve their leadership skills through building EQ, we shouldn’t overlook the benefit to technical skills too. Colleagues completing the 360 feedback will often comment on strengths and development areas in relation to functional competence.
Perhaps the individual being assessed has strong scheduling skills, or would benefit from improving their risk management. This kind of feedback enables project managers to focus on development that will best support their ability to lead successful projects. They can work with their managers, a coach, and HR teams to plan a professional training program to improve their skills in these areas.
A 360 assessment for project managers is the perfect way to build project management leadership skills. However, the assessment itself is only a document. The benefits are in going through the exercise, being reflective, and planning development activities, perhaps with a coach, based on the insights from the assessment.
Feedback is a powerful way to improve performance and help your team reach their full potential. Will you give 360 assessments a try?