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MBTI & 360 Risks & Benefits


As an L&D deliverer, I've been using MBTI Step I and II for a couple of years now but only for individuals. I'm about to embark upon a programme of events for teams, so new territory for me there. As a side issue - any hints, tips or elephant traps anyone is aware of would be very much appreciated. My main reason for posting is that for the first time I've been asked to include the use of 360 degree feedback, so that participants get both the 'internal' and 'external' views of themselves. Having little experience of 360, I'm trying to understand what the benefits and risks to individuals/teams and organisation might be of combining these two tools.
Lucy Fuller

8 Responses

  1. 360 degree or 270 degree
    Dear Lucy Fuller

    It is up to you, Many people thought that we have to use 360 degree performance appraisal but in my opinion we should consider things

    01- 360 stand for boss, subordinate peer and customers, it is up to you to chose which cause the most impact to your performance appraisal
    02- you can use 90 180 or 270 instead of 360 degree
    03- it is really taking a lot of time and paper, just multiply the paperwork with 2 if you use 180 degre and 4 if you want to use 360 degree

    here some my concers of 360 degree feedback

    The same pinciples apply to both approaches: neither is Gospel Truth about a person. The 360 is just a collection of comments made by colleagues about that person, it’s not an instruction to change. Also, the faux-scientific appearance (bar charts and so on) are really just a way of getting people in the right frame of mind to add the narrative comments that bring the whole thing to life. Encourage people to take their own view on it, without pressure. Your role is to work with them to get it into perspective. Where, just occasionallym there is a huge clash between how people see themselves and how others see them, be prepared to support them through the initial shock. These people are usually in deep trouble and often don’t know it, so you can be very useful here.
    Similarly with the MBTI, it’s only a questionnaire, a brilliant one, but can never tell the whole truth about a person – remember Jung’s wonderful quote: his Typology provides ‘compass points in the wilderness of human personality’ – it’s not the ocmplete map. The person’s own view of themselves is always the last and best judgement.
    When you take this approach I think you will find that it’s not as difficult as you might think. Ask participants to conisder how these inside and outside views coincide, and equally imnportantly, where they differ.

    If you don’t yet have a copy of my interpretative book on the Myers, 16 Personality Types at Work in Organisations, phone my company Management Futures and ask to speak to Brian Purkiss and say I’ve authorised a special Training Zone free copy for you! 020 7242 4030
    Good luck – hope it goes well

  3. Feeding back with Care
    Hi Lucy

    360 feedback in general is always an interesting one. In the way you’re planning to use it, it helps an individual identify the part of themselves that is hidden from Self (one of the Johari windows) but it still needs to be used sensitively so that it helps protect the profilee’s self esteem.

    I work with an emotional intelligence questionnaire (the Individual Effectiveness questionnaire or ‘ie’ for short – which measures an individual’s EI attitudes and skills. JCA (Occupational Psychologists) Ltd are the publishers of this profile, and they are passionate about MBTI too, being heavily involved with BAPT. Jo Maddocks their research director is currently researching into the links between MBTI and EI – in his view he sees EI as being how we manage our personality. I’m sure he would love to chat through this with you so do give him a ring on 01242 239238 if you’re interested.

    Our EI and our performance are underpinned by our self esteem which is one of the core scales of the ‘ie’ tool. There is a 360 version which is really useful when the person is open to this, and as long as you are aware of where they are at with their self esteem so that you can coach them through the impact of any feedback, positive or negative.

    In my experience, here are the key things to remember when coaching with 360 feedback:

    – be aware of where the individual is at in terms of their self esteem
    – understand the possible impact negative feedback from others can have on this so that you can feedback sensitively and in an empowering way
    – be aware that 360 feedback says as much about the people giving the feedback as the profilee and this is based on their perceptions, not reality
    – understand that feedback may be situational not a constant
    – therefore explore where there are greater variations between responders (which would suggest either personality or situational issues) and where there are consistent scores suggesting significant behaviours/attitudes.
    – be aware that some responders don’t like giving negative feedback or may use this as a means of doing so anonymously
    – inform the 360 responders beforehand that the individual may well want to discuss the results with them, and encourage this too

    Hope this helps. Good luck with your programme – it sounds stimulating and multi-faceted!

  4. Think about …

    There’s no need to worry about the paperwork requirements for 360, it can be done online which will increase data security, reduce effort and make aggregating the data much easier.

    The respondents you choose for 360 are important, there’s plenty of different groups to choose from and you don’t need to go outside the organisation to customers or suppliers if that’s not appropriate for you.

    360 can have the benefit of being designed around the behaviours you want in your organisation, either utilising your competency framework, or building a new set of questions. It doesn’t force you into using anyone else’s idea of what the right behaviours are. You can also phrase the questions in language that makes sense to your audience, rather than American-English, management speak or psycho-babble.

    You do need to be careful about communication and how you’ll use the feedback. It’s a great development tool if deployed with care, but can be destructive if used as a ranking tool, or to expose participants unfairly.

    Take a look at for more

    Good luk


  5. A suggestion
    Your question seems to be about the combining of 360 with MBTI. Both are lenses with which you can look at both individual and team performance and it may be worthwhile deliving the events in that context.

    You could ask the delegates to consider what their colleagues expect of them and how they meet those expectations. Then use both MBTI and the 360 to understand their impact on the team, how they may be percieved, their natural style, and how they may need to adapt their style to contribute more effectively to a diverse team.

  6. Beware of botched logistics
    Many good responses already listed by others regarding use of MBTI and 360. I manage the retail sales of 360’s here at the Center for Creative Leadership, and spend a great deal of time with clients helping them understand that the heavy lifting involving 360 comes BEFORE anyone ever completes a survey. I estimate that I spend 80% of my time with clients preparing and planning, and 20% delivering. There are several studies which show that the m ain reasons 360 inititiatives fail is due to botched logistics–from creating unrealistic timeframes to not clearly defining the confidentiality/anonymity ground rules, lack of preparation for raters, and so on. You can have a look at this free pdf written by my colleague Jean Leslie, which outlines some best practices in this regard.

    Regarding the combined use of MBTI and a 360, the best resource in the UK that I am fammiliar with is OPP.

  7. Pitfalls of 360 degree feedback
    I am not a fan of 360 degree feedback, which may go against the grain in many organisations. It is reassuring to see that Center for Creative Leadership is trying to responsibly sell this but often it is aggressively sold into HR departments and is utilised with little management support and back-up.

    Anonymous feedback required by many systems goes against some companies values of honesty and integrity -although they overlook this fundamental point!! I have had to spend many hours with people devastated by some comments in 360 degree feedback reports. These people have been left wondering who gave the feedback along with their motivation, when the behaviour was observed and whether it was reported in context. The consequences were bizarre changes in behaviour and misplaced distrust of colleagues.

    Open, honest 360 degree feedback, on the other hand, leads to feedback frenzies with “I’ll give you some good feedback if you give me some” scenarios.

    These are HUGE pitfalls overlooked by those advocating 360 degree feedback.

    The best 360 degree feedback is to build up a no-blame learning culture where people actively ask for feedback from colleagues on an ongoing basis as part of a personal development plan.

    MBTI is great as there is a good discussion about preferences with the individual making choices supported by the MBTI results. It does not involve others making comments as to the appropriateness of the choice / profile. How does anyone know another person’s true preference and therefore their true personality?

  8. Thank You
    My sincere thanks to all of those who took the time to respond. I’ve only recently joined the community and am already overwhelmed by the support it provides. Am doing my best to reciprocate!

    Just to let you know, this development programme is going well, my clients are opting for a ‘staged’ approach, individual MBTI first then exploring the potential for a team event followed up with 360 for those that feel comfortable with taking that step. It was your contributions that helped us get to this point and have me to feel this is ‘an elephant I can eat, one spoonful at a time! (Quote from an ex boss of mine)


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