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Origins of the 360° feedback assessment tool



Virginie Graziani

Talent Management & Synergologist

1 February 2018

Reading Time: 2 minutes


From business to leadership


The story began in the 20th century in North Carolina (USA), when Lunsford Richardson, with the help of his son H. Smith Richardson, developed a home remedy that relieves chest congestion, the famous Vicks VapoRub, which went on to become the Vick Chemical Company.

Convinced that leaders are made, not born, the son and heir of Vicks spearheaded the creation of the Center for Creative Leadership in 1970. Dedicated to evaluating and developing the leadership of managers, various research on managerial qualities carried out by the institute led to the development of 360°.


The 360° tool and how others perceive things

A true indicator of how others perceive things, 360° feedback provides deeper knowledge about how a manager’s professional entourage feels, vis-à-vis their daily actions. Indeed, the initial objective is not to evaluate employees, but to characterise mutual perceptions and the relationships they trigger in a given company and in a specific situation.

In this way, 360° does not offer the “truth” about the behaviour of the manager wishing to change his practices. Rather, it provides information about a situation, just as it is felt by his professional entourage.

A lever for behaviour change


Human beings are, by nature, particularly sensitive to the scrutiny and behaviour of others. Thus, a manager’s potential awareness of the way his colleagues perceive him plays an important role in how he behaves. Generally, external feedback on managerial behaviour offers a genuine opportunity to better identify a manager’s strengths and areas to be developed,  on a professional or even personal level.

360° goes beyond the unilateral framework of traditional assessments carried out by supervisors. The multidimensional aspect of the feedback subsequently reinforces the credibility of different people’s perceptions. This feedback allows the manager to “mature” regarding  his practices  and facilitates the implementation of an action plan.





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