The 3 Unique Rater Differences in 360-Degree Feedback

October 12, 2016 by Sandra Mashihi

“Different but equal.” -Donna Ann Evans

Different raters do appear to be applying different observational filters that bias and reflect on the behaviors they are rating (Nowack, 2009).

  1. Ratings from managers appear to be performance-oriented
  2. Ratings from direct reports are more interpersonally oriented
  3. Ratings from peers are focused on future leadership potential

At a practical level, this suggests that results from 360-degree feedback do prompt unique feedback from the different rater groups involved in such processes.  As such, each rater group provides important but somewhat unique feedback to interpret and decide how to use in each 360-degree feedback process.

Coach’s Critique: 

Essentially, the beauty of a 360-degree feedback process is that it gathers data from different individuals at different positions in relation to participants. As a result, different types of raters are naturally going to have different types of perceptions because they work with the participant in a different capacity. Thus, each rater group does indeed provide unique feedback.

When I debrief 360-degree feedback reports with my clients, I generally help them understand the differences in the types of feedback they are bound to get from different rater groups. When I do this, they are able to gauge at the weight and importance of different development areas. For instance, ratings that have to do with their performance may be better determined by those individuals that work closely with the participants and can detect results, like managers. As another example, ratings that are geared towards a participant’s interpersonal skills can be well determined by those that work under him or her. Other rater groups can add to the consensus, but may not have had as much direct experience as the unique groups that have a stronger sense due to their interaction and position. For this reason, it is important for coaches to educate their clients about these general unique rater feedback types in order to help them gain clarity in creating a development plan.

What has been your experience about rater group feedback? Do you believe each group contributes uniquely? If so, how?



Dr. Sandra Mashihi is a senior consultant with Envisia Learning, Inc. She has extensive experience in sales training, behavioral assessments and executive coaching. Prior to working at Envisia Learning, Inc., She was an internal Organizational Development Consultant at Marcus & Millichap where she was responsible for initiatives within training & development and recruiting.. Sandra received her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles and received her Master of Science and Doctorate in Organizational Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology.

Posted in 360 Degree Feedback

If You Enjoyed This Post...

You'll love getting updates when we post new articles on leadership development, 360 degree feedback and behavior change. Enter your email below to get a free copy of our book and get notified of new posts:

  1. Gerald Hannah, Ph.D says:

    excellent article and agree why 360 assessment and feedback is an excellent tool to use in designing the coachee’s development plan, etc.

Follow Envisia Learning:

RSS Twitter linkedin Facebook

Are You Implementing a Leadership Development Program?

Call us to discuss how we can help you get more out of your leadership development program:

(800) 335-0779, x1