I’ve had interns work with me this past year and, as their time with me was coming to an end, we did something called a 360 evaluation. If you’re unfamiliar with what this is, it’s essentially a two-way evaluation where I evaluate them and they evaluate me. I’ve found this process to be so valuable that I actually suggest it to anyone who wants to receive the most value from the feedback process.
One might wonder why it’s healthiest for the evaluation to be a reciprocal process. Even though my interns were college students and I have many more years of experience, I also tend to see things through my own eyes. I don’t see how I’m being received by others. I sometimes don’t see the results of my actions. That’s partially why this is such a brilliant learning piece. Sometimes they see things completely different than me, opening my eyes as to when the way I do things should be changed or various ways I can improve. I’m often my own worst enemy and their input helps keep me on track.
Anyway, prior to doing these 360 evaluations, I’d had another intern who wasn’t quite working out. She came in with excuses all the time as to why she couldn’t do her job the way I wanted it to be done, so I ultimately decided to let her go. However, I wasn’t totally honest with her as to why. I just wanted to part ways, and so that’s what we did.
Fast forward to the evaluations with the rest of the interns and, because they were evaluating me as well, I learned that I had scared them when I let her go because they weren’t sure why I’d made that decision. Immediately, I owned the fact that I hadn’t been completely open and honest about what had transpired, learning a very valuable lesson along the way.
I realized that, in the future, I need to work on being transparent with my team, sharing why I’ve made certain decisions so that everyone learns from them. This can also keep them from becoming fearful of my actions, solely because they don’t understand what happened or why I did what I did.
This whole incident reminded me how important it is in both working and personal relationships to communicate clearly and to know how we’re coming across to those we’re conversing with. We need to ensure that they’re hearing what we’re intending to say and vice versa.
One way to assess whether the correct message is being relayed is to always ask for feedback. This can help you assess whether everyone is on the same page or if more explanation is necessary to clear up any miscommunication or keep future problems from occurring.
Asking for feedback is probably even more critical in this day and age where so much communication is done electronically. A lot of misunderstandings can occur via email or text, so regularly checking in with each other is a great way to make sure your message wasn’t taken out of context.
Clear communication is the key in any relationship, whether business or personal, as the better you understand each other, the stronger you are as a team. Make your team unstoppable by talking openly and honestly. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
The 3 C’s — Crystal Clear Communication