360 Observer Feedback is a way to improve performance, create accountability and provide development opportunities

By Mim Haigh, Sports Writer – Athlete Assessments

The best teams take time to reward what’s going well, review what needs to be improved upon, and set plans to achieve future success. The same is true for individuals. How do they do this? One very effective way is to get feedback from others. Getting feedback from others in a formal way is called 360 Observer Feedback. The process is often perceived negatively, avoided by many, approached with trepidation or as a critical experience people must endure. BUT, we think it’s misunderstood and with some re-examining you too will know the value of 360 Observer Feedback.

Often 360 Observer Feedback processes are part of performance reviews and used to ensure professional development is well guided. The reason those who know rely on the underrated process is that it uncovers blind spots or gaps in the way people perceive their own behavior. The process can be simple, repeatable, and a reliable way to include feedback from everyone.

The other way people come across 360 Observer Feedback is when they apply for a career promotion. The process shows how promotion candidates work with their respective teams. What’s common to each of these opportunities, is that it’s about setting a standard to promotealready established success while planning for future success.

From the comments we hear within sports organizations, very few people look forward to getting feedback from others. And, while your initial reaction may be to cringe too, let’s take the cringe away and reframe it into a positive and valuable experience. Firstly, properly managed processes spend a balanced amount of time and effort to focus on what is going well, the individual’s strengths and current success factors, along with areas for improvement. This is usually the key point that is mis-understood as most people only focus on ‘weaknesses’.

A way to start the turnaround is to ask your team, or those around you, to take a moment and examine their underlying thoughts surrounding peoples’ motivations for giving the feedback they do – this is usually the cause of uneasy feelings about 360 Observer Feedback.

We think you can unlock the value of feedback with this simple statement, “your teammates only give you feedback to make you a better player” or “your colleagues give you feedback because they care.”

Incidentally, saying something like this also reinforces your culture and defines how this process is to be done. With that clear, 360 Observer Feedback becomes vitally important and a process that everyone wants to be a part of.


Now, here’s 6 extra reasons for reconsidering 360 observer feedback



  1. More complete feedback from multiple sources
    360 Observer feedback provides feedback from a broad array of team members, colleagues and peers, making the assessment more accurate. The mechanics of this are simple; the more people who report the same thing – the more reliable the insight.  Additionally, feedback from your teammates and colleagues is essential because it helps you understand how they view your efforts, your contribution and ultimately your game/work. Your teammates and colleagues may also provide feedback that your coach or manager may have missed; which means you’ll gain a better understanding of your strengths and areas to focus on for improvement.
  2. Team development
    360 Observer Feedback helps people learn to work together more effectively. Through the process they become aware of their strengths, weaknesses and any areas for development. Once these areas have been actioned, teams begin to build pathways, become more interconnected and operate more effectively.This process is uniquely adept at uncovering ‘blind spots’. A member of your team might be unaware of a recurrent behavior they do, or how strong a certain trait is. This behavior or trait could be a strength that were unaware of, a strength that they could be utilizing or an area for improvement which can be addressed with training. Because of the very nature of 360 Observer Feedback the person receiving the feedback can see patterns emerge through the multiple comments they receive from their team mates, colleagues and peers. Once the behavior has been brought to light it can be action.This feedback which is reported formally through the 360 process allows people to hold themselves and their teammates/colleagues accountable. Additionally, the reciprocity involved with 360 Observer Feedback creates trust, builds upon accountability (by defining expectations and clarifying behaviors), strengthens rapport, and provides support within the playing/working environment. This process creates transparency and allows team members to give each other feedback. It inspires a level of trust within the team and leads to better decision making and improved performance.

  1. Encourages self-awareness, personal development, and cultural shift
    360 observer feedback provides team members with the opportunity for growth in self-awareness because it outlines strengths and weaknesses as reported by several team members revealing common trends. This honest and reliable feedback promotes self-awareness because it allows individuals to recognize their potentially overlooked strengths and unidentified weaknesses.
    Additionally, self-realization, alongside receiving similar reports from multiple sources is often a strong motivator for self-improvement and personal development. Teams that provide opportunities for personal development, like 360 observer feedback assessments, will retain team members who constantly try to improve and strive to become high quality performers. Consequently, those team members will become more effective contributors and will progress in their careers. Ultimately, in retaining these types of team members, team culture will shift to one of personal and professional growth resulting in improved performance.
  2. Promotes dialogue
    Self-awareness, clarification of behaviors, and process feedback all provide a natural opportunity for communication. 360 Observer Feedback requires the feedback of several team members, consequently, it opens communication channels within the team. By understanding other people’s observer graphs and starting conversations about how to modify behavior to communicate more effectively, observer feedback enhances relationships and results in improved communication and comradery.

  1. Identifies gaps in training and development
    360 Observer Feedback can provide extensive information about potential training and development needs. Feedback from teams often displays common areas for development which can be addressed through additional classes or training programs. This information about potential training needs is vital to the future success of sports organizations because teams are only as strong as their weakest links. With this performance review tool, teams can adopt the mindset that they will explore their weaknesses to improve the team’s overall performance.

  1. Enhances performance
    Arguably the largest benefit of 360 Observer Feedback, which underlies all other reasons for conducting performance reviews is, performance enhancement. This assessment improves performance by; improving self-awareness and relationships, increasing accountability, providing clarity around expectations and standards for the individual, and by extension the team. With this tool in place, consistent personal and team growth can be achieved.

A sporting organization’s most important asset, and scarcest resource, is its people. So, we need to ensure that they are well looked after. Part of ensuring that people are taken care of includes providing them with the opportunity to grow. In order to achieve both personal and professional development, individual performance feedback is essential.  The most successful sport organizations invest in quality performance review processes. Why? Because they enhance performance.

Athlete Assessments provides two ways to easily incorporate 360 Observer Feedback. Firstly, all of the Athlete Assessments’ DISC Profiles (AthleteDISC, CoachDISC and Sport ManagerDISC Profiles) have the ability to include feedback from others as an optional capability at NO additional cost. Athlete Assessments also provides an additional service to support performance reviews, whether it be post-season or as part of the annual review process using our detail 360 Performance Reviews. Read more below. 

The 360 Observer Feedback – Optional Extra DISC Profile Tool

The 360 Observer Feedback tool provides you with the perfect opportunity to celebrate what you’re doing well, whilst helping seek key areas of development. That is why all Athlete Assessments’ DISC Profiles have the capability to convert into a 360 Observer Feedback tool (at no additional cost). This tool enables you to invite those around you to share their insights into how they perceive your behavior within your sporting environment. 360 Observer Feedback was developed to take advantage of the range of benefits gained from quality feedback, from improving performance to reducing coach, player and support-staff turnover.

360 Observer Feedback is also an integral part of Athlete Assessments Performance Review service.

Performance Reviews for Sport

Take the ‘cringe’ out of Performance Reviews for sport and deliver a significant development opportunity using the Coach 360, Sports Manager 360, and Athlete Leader 360. Transform your Performance Review Process into the most valuable experience for all involved.

  • Rely on a solid and proven methodology
  • Easily incorporate feedback from all involved
  • Identify any blind spots or perception gaps
  • Enjoy a consistent, smooth approach, year in year out

Athlete Assessments Performance Reviews for Sport combines the necessary professional support with the ease and efficiency of an excellent online assessment program. Choose the level of service right for your sports organization, from self-service to full consultation.

Be strategic and take the stress out of managing the ‘people’ side of sport. Rely on the extensive experience of our team. We know sport and live high performance every day. To find out more about Athlete Assessments Performance Reviews for Sport.

At Athlete Assessments, we’re here to provide you with excellence in service and here to help you be your best. If there is anything we can assist you with, please Contact Us.

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