If you’re working with executive teams, you probably have used a 360 assessment. The problem with most of them is that the theory behind is general, whereas leadership is always contextual. What is right in one environment might be wrong in another – this is particularly the case when you’re crossing over between cultures.
Another problem with 360/180 feedback is that we will want to ‘fix our scores’ – in psychology it’s called ‘social desirability’ and we see it everywhere. Now, I certainly had that reaction in the Experienced Manager Course in GE. I was 36, competitive, a bit high on myself and definitely wanted to improve my scores – yet improving scores can lead management in the wrong direction if the assessment isn’t tuned to their NEEDS. For instance, a financial manager needs a different way of leading and managing than the Chief of sales or the CEO. Actually, people with different personalities and interests tend to choose different occupations.
My management roles and some 10+ years as a head-hunter have told me that all leadership is contextual and management styles can never be disconnected from systems and business models.
360s have limited validity and many 360’s can actually do harm. But. In my judgement and Marshall’s research, certain themes and behaviours can be necessary although not sufficient. Marshall’s Global Leadership Assessment 360 is actually worth being certified for.