360 Feedback: A Powerful Career Development Tool

360 Feedback: A Powerful Career Development Tool

November 27, 2013
Career Development

Annette Maggi, MS, RD, LD, FAND
Executive Director, RDBA

Dietitians working in the retail setting are forging unchartered territory.  They're laying the ground work, establishing the benefit - both financial and health reform - of health promotion at the point-of-purchase.  For most retail RDs, it's a trial-and-error, learn-as-you-go process. 

For all these reasons, retail RDs may benefit by initiating a 360 feedback process.  In this process, you gather feedback from others on how your style and approach perform in this non-traditional work environment.  You gain an understanding of how others in the retail space perceive you.

Suggested steps for a 360 feedback process include:

  1. Evaluate your company culture.  If no one in the company has ever requested this type of feedback, coworkers may be surprised when you reach out to them.  Talk with your manager and human resource contact to ensure this approach fits within corporate culture.
  2. Complete a self-assessment.  Reflect on your skills that are effective in this work environment.  Consider successes and failures you've had.  Having a sense of what you believe is working and where you have gaps will make the feedback from others more insightful.
  3. Gather feedback from colleagues.  Set up confidential meetings with your manager, colleagues you frequently interact with, and staff who report to you.  Clearly communication ahead of time what you hope to gain from the meetings.  During the meetings, ask questions such as the following:
  • How would you define my brand?
  • What am I known for in the company?
  • What are my top three strengths?
  • What will it take for me to advance to the next level n the company?

It's important to ask for examples of specific behaviors.  While you may find yourself getting defensive in these meetings, keep a positive focus and seek to understand the other point of view by asking clarifying questions.  The goal of the meeting is to gather candid and honest feedback that helps you grow professionally and advance your career. 

Once you have gathered all the feedback, look for common themes, and build a development plan that will help you be successful and drive your career to advanced levels in this non-traditional setting.  Consider how you can most effectively soar with your strengths while managing your development opportunities.

360 feedback is intended as a developmental tool for you.  Understanding how others perceive you, and what they see as your strengths and opportunities can position you to be successful in the retail space.