Kenneth Nowack and Sandra Mashihi provide “evidence-based answers to 15 questions about leveraging 360-degree feedback) in a recent article in Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research.
Their first question was “Does 360-degree feedback do more harm than good”?
Nowack and Mashihi concluded that found “poorly-designed 360-degree feedback assessments and interventions can increase disengagement and contribute to poor individual and team performance.”
Specifically, individuals can “experience strong discouragement and frustration” when feedback is not as affirming as anticipated.
In addition, negatively-perceived information may be discounted and disregarded.
John Gottman’s studies of positive-to-negative interaction ratios in marriage suggest that intact and well-functioning marriages have a a 5:1 ratio, and research by his colleagues, Schwartz and team, found a similar effect for 360-feedback sessions, though the ratio was closer to 3:1 to encourage enhanced individual and team performance, individual workplace engagement, effectiveness, and emotional “flourishing,” according to Frederickson and Losada.
Proportions of negative feedback and interactions that exceed these ratios can interfere with insight and motivation and diminish willingness to engage in work-related practice and performance effectiveness.
Barbara Fredrickson suggested in Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive that this 3:1 ratio of positive to negative feedback is a “tipping point.”
Research by Eisenberger, Lieberman & Williams demonstrates the physical and emotional impact when the balance tips toward an overload of negative feedback: the same neurophysiologic pathways associated with physical pain are triggered.
Under these circumstances, volunteers report higher levels of physical pain and demonstrate diminished performance on a cognitively-demanding task, according to Chen, Williams, Fitness & Newton.
Anyone providing evaluations or 360-degree feedback may organize and “titrate” negative (“constructive”) feedback to remain within tolerable ratios so that those receiving this coaching can assimilate and execute recommendations.
-*What ratios of positive to negative feedback do you apply in helping others improve performance?
LinkedIn Open Group – Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)