Undertaking a 360 qualitative assessment of my leadership abilities

Pamela Galloway, Clinical Midwifery Manager, Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy

Hello, my name is Pamela and I am delighted to share some of my journey as a 2019 Inspire Improvement Fellow. Fear of writing this blog led me to delay, avoid whatever you want to call it but as one of my colleagues was experiencing similar feelings with undertaking a 360 assessment, I decided to write this blog to help those who are in fear of undertaking a 360 qualitative leadership assessment (adapted from Garbett et al., 2007).

A 360 tool asks people around a leader to give feedback using four simple questions:

  • What is your understanding of my role as a leader?
  • What have you experienced that I do well in my role?
  • What feedback can you provide me about how I could become more effective in my role?
  • What other feedback would you like to give me?

In order to improve culture in the workplace we to have start with ourselves, by learning how others view us. I appreciate the team are busy with their clinical workload, however the 360 assessment tool consists of only 4 questions which provides feedback without being too time consuming.

At our monthly team meeting I explained to the team that the purpose of the assessment was to help me improve as a leader. I sent the questions by email to the whole team, emphasising they could print off and return should they wish to remain anonymous. When the forms came back there were three by email the remainder by post. There was a 60% return rate which I found disappointing as this was an opportunity for staff to be open and honest with me.

At first, I only glanced at the returns as I wanted to spend time reading them all together, I was also apprehensive of what information the feedback would contain. Once I read them all, I then investigated how to analyse the feedback. I recognised I had some of the behavioural characteristics described as common reactions, I had indeed skimmed the feedback searching for both positive and negative comments.

I was initially relieved with the overall response and then I began to analyse in further detail and realised the staff were more perceptive about my feelings and behaviour than I was ever aware. I had wrongly assumed that I was able to disguise my feelings from staff or that they would not be interested in how I felt as a person. This is described in the Johari Window model (1955) as the blind pane, others are aware of this information about you, which is outside your awareness. It is described as a deficiency, however I interpreted this as enlightenment.

As a result of undertaking this 360 feedback I have a renewed respect for my team. Previously due to the challenges the team face on a daily basis I had felt the team were negative with their attitude in general. I now recognise that they respect me and understand the challenges I face in my role. This feedback has helped shape the format of how we will move forward as a team in addition to me learning more about myself and how others view me.

I would encourage everyone to undertake a 360 feedback, it helps you as an individual to reflect on how others perceive you. Identifying your blind pane can be informative, helping you to identify areas which require development. I plan to repeat this 360 feedback again with the team in a further six months with the hope of having an improved response rate and maybe even finding more blind panes. If you have a fear of getting feedback from your colleagues and your team, I would say go for it, as you will probably be pleasantly surprised.



Garbett, R., Hardy, S., Manley, K., Titchen, A. and McCormack, B. (2007) Developing a qualitative approach to 360-degree feedback to aid understanding and development of clinical expertise. Journal of Nursing Management. Vol. 15. No. 3. pp 342-347.

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