1 Running Head: 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 1 Leadership Skill Assessment: 360 Degree Feedback Cheryl J. Servis Virginia Commonwealth University
2 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 2 Leadership Skill Assessment: 360 Degree Feedback My colleagues were asked to assess my leadership skills within our school community. They completed an anonymous leadership skill assessment survey of my performance with a link provided to them in an . I asked my direct supervisor, three peers, and two of my direct reports to complete the online survey. The purpose of this exercise was to gather feedback about the way others view my leadership skills and expertise so that I could reflect and identify areas in need of improvement. In order for it to be a complete 360 degree picture of the perceptions of my leadership abilities, I also took the survey with regard to my ability. All seven respondents completed the survey within the time limit set. The results of the survey were analyzed to compare my self-assessment with the assessments completed by my colleagues taken as a group. Survey Results The survey contained fifty-eight questions related to ten factors of leadership: Setting Direction, Teamwork, Sensitivity, Judgment, Results Oriented, Organizational Ability, Oral Communication, Written Communication, Developing Others, and Understand Own Strengths. Respondents were asked to rate my leadership skill in each question on a Likert scale from one to five, with one meaning ineffective, two meaning minimally effective, three meaning satisfactory, four meaning highly effective, and five meaning outstandingly effective. The means of the data were calculated for comparison of each of the ten leadership factors for both my self-assessment and the assessment completed by my colleagues. Each question also had a follow-up question asking respondents to cite their source of evidence for the answer they provided. A frequency distribution was created to analyze their cited sources of evidence. Setting Direction The first eight questions of the survey assessed my leadership skills as they pertained to
3 Mean Scores 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 3 setting direction. The questions in this section asked respondents to rate me on the following statements: articulates a vision related to professional field, articulates high performance expectations for self, encourages improvement in professional field, sets clear measurable goals, generates enthusiasm toward common goals, seeks to develop alliances outside immediate work environment to support high quality outcomes, acknowledges achievement or accomplishments, and seeks commitment to a course of action. The overall mean of the responses of my colleagues for this factor was 4.52, while the mean of my self-assessment scores was 3.25 (see Figure 1). For each statement my colleagues rated me a 4 or 5, with the exception of encourages improvement in the professional field where one respondent rated me with a Degree Feedback: Respondents vs. Self Assessment Leadership Factors Respondents Self-Assessment Figure 1. Comparison of means of the responses of respondents to the means of my selfassessment on the ten leadership factors addressed in the 360 degree leadership survey.
4 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 4 I believe that the difference between the mean of my colleagues responses and my selfassessment was more than one point on a five point scale because I tend to set very high expectations for myself and can always see room for self-improvement no matter what the situation. In fact the only statement on which my colleagues and I agreed was articulates high performance expectations for self. Since most on the respondents have been my colleagues for many years, more than 60% their sources of evidence were personal observations or enterprise documents (see Table 1). Therefore, the reliability of their ratings in this area is fairly strong as they are based on first-hand knowledge. Teamwork The second set of questions on the survey pertained to my leadership in the form of teamwork. The seven questions on this factor contained the following statements: supports the ideas of team members, encourages team members to share ideas, contributes ideas toward accomplishing the team s goals, assists in performing the operational tasks of the team, seeks input from team members, acts to maintain direction or focus to achieve the team s goals, and seeks consensus among team members. The overall mean of the responses of my colleagues for this factor was 4.57, while the mean of my self-assessment scores was Although the mean of the respondents scores was slightly higher than that for the setting direction section, there were a few ratings of 3 given in this section. The difference between the means of the respondents and my self-assessment scores were closer for this factor, less than a point. Although I am my worst critic, I believe the means for this factor were closer because I so strongly believe in the power and value of teamwork. This is something that I recognize in myself and strive to emphasize. Ironically, the highest score from the respondents within this factor (4.83) was for encourages the ideas of team members, while
5 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 5 the lowest score (4.33) was for supports the ideas of team members. This seems to be a direct contradiction. While I am encouraged by such a high score for encouraging the ideas of others, I am hopeful that the lower score with regard to supporting those ideas is more a factor of my inability as assistant principal of our school to enact their suggestions than a belief that I am not really listening to them. This is something I will certainly be more cognizant of as we move forward and something I most definitely want to make sure I am respectful of when I am in a better position to take action from their ideas. The sources of evidence cited for this factor were distributed among all the available choices except no evidence. For those who had not been on a team with me at some point, this may have been a more difficult section to rate. This seems to be supported by the larger numbers of evidence from other sources and reports from others than were seen in the setting direction section of the survey. Sensitivity The third section of the survey pertained to my sensitivity in the area of leadership. The four questions for this factor contained the following statements: interacts professionally and tactfully with others, elicits perceptions, feelings, or concerns of others, voices disagreements without creating unnecessary conflict, and communicates necessary information to appropriate persons in a timely manner. The overall mean of the responses of my colleagues for this factor was 4.7, while the mean of my self-assessment scores was 3.6. I am much harder on myself than anyone else ever could be. I believe this accounts for most of the disparity in the overall means. Although this is the highest mean score from the respondents thus far, there was a rating of 2 given by one respondent on voices disagreements without creating unnecessary conflict. Again, this seems to be a direct contradiction to the mean score of 5 on the statement interacts
6 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 6 professionally and tactfully with others. This rating will certainly cause me to pause and reflect the next time I voice a disagreement. On the other hand, I suppose it is possible that this respondent felt I simply don t voice disagreement often enough. Either way, this is something to ponder as I move forward in leadership positions. More than 50% of the sources of evidence cited for this factor were personal observations or enterprise documents, projects, or activities. Therefore, the reliability of their ratings in this area is fairly strong as they are based on firsthand knowledge for the most part. Judgment The fourth leadership factor rated by respondents on the survey is judgment. There were nine questions in the form of the following statements: takes appropriate action, acts with caution in approaching an unfamiliar person or situation, analyzes information to determine the important elements of a situation, communicates a clear rationale for a decision, seeks additional information, uses information sources that are relevant to an issue, asks follow-up questions to clarify information, seeks to identify the cause of a problem, and sees relationships among issues. The overall mean of the responses of my colleagues for this factor was 4.61, while the mean of my self-assessment scores was Once again, I remain my harshest critic and believe there is always room for significant growth in all matters. I received a rating of 4 or 5 by all respondents on six of the nine questions. I received a single 3 rating on each of the following categories: takes appropriate action, communicates a clear rationale, and uses information sources that are relevant to an issue. Those satisfactory ratings involve issues of collecting data, analyzing it to create an action plan, and communicating those findings back to the team. All of those are important things to consider as you make not only a good decision, but one that will achieve stakeholder buy-in. Therefore, this
7 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 7 is also an area to give due consideration as I continue to work with teams to make leadership decisions. The one statement I received a mean of 5 for was seeks to identify the cause of a problem. I was pleasantly surprised by this rating. I believe that this is one of the most important, if not the most important factors in problem solving. I am pleased and humbled that the respondents felt this was one of my strengths. Additionally, more than 50% of the evidence sources cited for this factor were a result of direct contact with me or my work. Therefore, the ratings within this section are very reliable. Results Oriented The fifth section pertained to being a results oriented leader. The six questions representative of this factor contained the following statements: takes action to move issues toward closure, initiates action for improvement, determines the criteria that indicate a problem or issue is resolved, considers the implications of a decision before taking action, makes decisions on the basis of information, and relates individual issues to the larger picture. The overall mean of the responses of my colleagues for this factor was 4.47, while the mean of my self-assessment scores was With the exception of a single rating of a 3 on relates individual issues to the larger picture, all other ratings in this section from all respondents were a 4 or 5. In contrast, I rated myself with mostly ratings of 3. I believe I perform in a satisfactory manner in most areas, but expect more from myself in these areas, not only for personal growth, but to maximize my contribution to our school community. Every respondent cited personal observation as at least one of the sources they used to make their determination in this section. You can t get much more solid information that than from one s personal observations.
8 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 8 Table 1 Frequency Table for Sources of Evidence Cited by Respondents on the Leadership Skill Assessment Survey Reports from Others Sources of Evidence Enterprise Projects or Activities Leadership Factor Personal Observation Enterprise Documents Other Sources No Evidence Total Setting Direction (8 questions) Teamwork (7 questions) Sensitivity (4 questions) Judgment (9 questions) Results Oriented (6 questions) Organizational Ability (6 questions) Oral Communication (5 questions) Written Communication (4 questions) Developing Others (5 questions) Understanding Own Strengths and Weaknesses (2 questions) Total Organizational Ability The sixth section of the leadership assessment survey pertained to my organizational ability. The six questions in regarding this factor contained the following statements: delegates responsibility to others, monitors delegated responsibilities, develops action plans,
9 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 9 monitors progress, establishes timelines, schedules, or milestones, prepares for meetings, and uses available resources. The overall mean of the responses of my colleagues for this factor was 4.43, while the mean of my self-assessment scores was I believe there is such a difference in the means of the respondents and my selfassessment responses because I know that delegation is a significant weakness for me. As a teacher and now as the assistant principal, I have not had many opportunities to delegate tasks to anyone else. Things have traditionally been delegated to me. I know that delegation is an important part of growing other leaders which I feel very strongly about, so I do realize the importance of working on this particular skill. I suppose as I develop my skills and confidence as a leader I will be more apt to delegate tasks to others. Once again, every respondent cited personal observation as a source of evidence so the reliability of their scores is fairly strong. Oral Communication The seventh section of the leadership survey pertained to my ability to communicate orally in leadership roles. This section contained five statements with regard to oral communication: demonstrates effective presentation skills, speaks articulately, uses proper grammar, pronunciation, diction, and syntax, tailors messages to meet the needs of unique audiences, and clearly presents thoughts and ideas in one-on-one, small group, and formal presentation settings. The overall mean of the responses of my colleagues for this factor was 4.47, while the mean of my self-assessment scores was 2.2. The mean of the respondents is more than double the mean of my scores for myself. This is the greatest disparity between means for any of the leadership factors. Oral communication is my greatest perceived weakness. I know that my low self-assessment is a direct result of my feelings about my abilities in this area. Although I feel I am strong in one-on-
10 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 10 one situations, I am extremely insecure before a large audience. Since childhood, I have had an overwhelming physiological reaction to speaking in public. Even when I feel that I ve got my nerves under control, I turn bright, splotchy red. I find it almost debilitating. When I look at the ratings of my colleagues though, I am hopeful that my fears are far worse than the reality of my performance when speaking in public. Since almost 70% of the sources of evidence cited by respondents was personal observation or enterprise documents, projects, or activities, I will choose to believe that is my take-away from this section of the survey results. Written Communication The eighth section of the survey deals with written communication as it relates to leadership ability. This factor was presented in four questions through the following statements: writes concisely, demonstrates technical proficiency in writing, expresses ideas clearly in writing, and writes appropriately for different audiences. The overall mean of the responses of my colleagues for this factor was 4.71, while the mean of my self-assessment scores was 4.0. This set of means represented the smallest discrepancy between the respondents and my selfassessment. Again, I believe this difference is directly correlated to my confidence in this area. I have always felt that I could convey my thoughts and feelings much more proficiently in writing than in speaking publicly. These feelings are supported by the resulting scores of the respondents. This is the strongest score they awarded me collectively on this survey. With exactly 70% of the sources of evidence cited being from personal observation or enterprise documents, projects, or activities, the reliability of their rating of me is strongly supported by their personal experience.
11 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 11 Developing Others The ninth section of the survey pertained to one s leadership ability in developing others. The survey contained the following five statements: shares expertise gained through experience, encourages others to change behaviors that inhibit professional growth, recommends specific developmental strategies, and asks others for their perceptions of their professional development needs. The overall mean of the responses of my colleagues for this factor was 4.3, while the mean of my self-assessment scores was 3.2. This represented my lowest overall rating from my colleagues. For many years I served as a mentor teacher to new teachers entering our division. I was very proud of this role and took my responsibilities in that area very seriously. Beginning only my second year in administration, I have not yet developed a clear picture for what those same mentor-type behaviors look like from the administrative angle. This is an area I will be working to develop in the next few years and I find my administrative legs. At this point as an assistant principal, I have very little to do with preparing or planning the professional development opportunities for our staff. Two of the four questions were related to professional development. However, with almost 60% of the reported sources of evidence cited to support their ratings of me in this area being personal observation or enterprise documents, projects, or activities, there is certainly something in this area that I need to examine and work to strengthen. Understanding Own Strengths and Weaknesses The final section of the survey dealt with one s knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses with regard to their leadership skill. There were only two questions for respondents to rate in this section. They contained the following statements: recognizes own strengths and recognizes own developmental needs. The overall mean of the responses of my colleagues for
12 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK 12 this factor was 4.34, while the mean of my self-assessment scores was 2.5. This represents almost a two point disparity between means. While my colleagues rated me with me with mostly a 4 or 5 in this area, I gave myself a rating of 2 and 3. This represents another area in which I am my harshest critic. I want to be the best school leader for Appomattox Middle School that I can be. In my mind that means constantly being reflective and striving for personal improvement. In the midst of working on that goal, I often don t give myself enough credit for what I do well. This is another area to work on as I grow as an administrator. With more than 60% of the sources of evidence cited for this section being personal knowledge of my skills and abilities by the respondents, I need to trust the job that I m doing while I continue to strive for personal growth and improvement. Conclusion Looking back over the means for each leadership factor represented in the survey, the data given to me by my colleagues is all very consistent. The means range from 4.3 to Not only is the data consistent from factor to factor, but it is consistently high and based very strongly in their direct experience with me or my work. Conversely, the means from my selfassessment are relatively low and have a much larger range, 2.2 to 4.0. My takeaway from this experience is that my abilities and my performance as a leader in my school are much stronger than I give myself credit for. After many years in the classroom, I had confidence in my abilities and my skill level as a teacher. I need to bring that same confidence into my administrative role while still being purposely reflective and committed to continued growth as a person and as a leader.