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I have recently received a request from my manager to provide 360 degrees feedback for one of my colleagues (sort of team leader). The request was sent by e-mail and it sounded like this:

Hey, please provide me by e-mail a 360-degree feedback for John Doe by Thursday.

My experience with providing 360-degree feedbacks is very limited (most companies I have worked for did not use this). However, I had to provide such feedback once, but it was very structured, asking to provide answers from 1-7 for various topics such as conveying complex information in plain language, listening to and considering others' views etc. Also, in this latter case, everything was anonymous and the system aggregated the answers after a minimum amount of feedback was accumulated for a person.

I have asked my manager about a structure and received a vague answer along the lines:

There is no specific form, but it should be specific: specific time, observed facts, include suggestions for improvement. Attributes to consider are: bring a leadership mindset, achieve consistently, collaborate productively, challenge yourself.

I have searched online and there are great resources containing aspects about evaluating a team leader (i.e. dozens of aspects that can be evaluated on a scale), but I am wondering if I should provide such a detailed answer since others will most likely reply in a different format.

It is just a feeling, but this seems more like a checkbox to tick somewhere than really looking forward to useful feedback. As I am pretty swamped these days, I would not waste too much time on this unless it is really needed (i.e. provide a plausible fake positive review and switch back to work).

As I am working at my current job only for several months, I am not sure about the periodicity of the feedbacks, but I think they are done on a yearly basis.

Another strange somewhat related issue occurred a month ago and I was asked by the team leader I have to evaluate now, to provide "positive feedback" for a tester colleague. However, the official request came from that colleague's manager and specified some aspects to evaluate, so it was easy to answer.

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Write on the assumption that the person you are writing about will see what you put down.

Think of the things that the person does well, and put them down.

Think of the things that the person does badly. Re-write them as opportunities to improve. Phrase that as what the employer can do to help the employee.

Make sure there are more good things than bad.

In the end, you're going to have to continue working with this colleague. So don't write anything you wouldn't want them to see.

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  • "don't write anything you wouldn't want them to see." is a very good piece of advice. Based on the current context (information provided via e-mail, good relationship with the manager), it is very important to respect this.
    – Alexei
    Jan 29 at 13:43
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There are multiple good way to formulate a 360 evaluation, without any guideline, I usually pick the approach of those 3 questions:

  1. which habits John Doe should start;
  2. which habits John Doe should stop;
  3. which habits John Doe should continue.

I recommend to stay on facts, open to the possibility there is more than one good way to complete a task successfully and refrain any personal interpretation to avoid any possibility of backslash because even if it may be anonymous, people can often deduce who wrote a specific comment. I propose to write the review like you will be in front of John.

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    "I propose to write the review like you will be in front of John." Given how vague the assignment sounds, I think this is very good advice. You can also employ the "point of constructive criticism sandwiched between two positive points" technique.
    – ObscureOwl
    Jan 29 at 9:47

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