How Important is 360 Feedback?

20/10/19 | By Joseph Duffy
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Low Tech Low Budget 360 Feedback by Joseph F Duffy,

Award Winning Author of Being a Supervisor 1.0: A Handbook for the New, Aspiring, and Experienced Supervisor

Senior Vice President at Dennis C Miller: Experts in Nonprofit Leadership Search

Being a Supervisor 1.0 is a must read for everyone involved in staff training and organizational development. Whether you are a newly promoted supervisor, manager or an experienced human resource trainer, you will greatly benefit from this book. Joe Duffy has provided a comprehensive review of all aspects of the important role that supervisors play in our work settings. I highly recommend reading this book to everyone involved in leadership and supervision. Dennis C. Miller, Executive Search, Author, Speaker, Leadership Coach.


I was a relatively new and inexperienced supervisor back in 1977, the Assistant Director of the Social Work Department at St. Joe’s Hospital in Paterson. The fall semester was winding down for a group of Social work student interns. During a bi-monthly meeting with them I announced I had received the last of their final evaluation forms from their respective schools and would be completing them shortly after which I would sit with them individually to discuss. As I finished informing them, one asked “When do we get to evaluate you?”. I responded to her and the group that I was certainly open to constructive feedback and would give it some thought. That was the beginning of my Supervisory Expectations Questionnaire, a tool adapted to the different work places I worked in for the rest of my working career. I describe it as an inexpensive alternative to the 360 degree feedback process.

I developed as six-teen question multiple choice survey (with space to add comments). The questions covered my management and communication style and the work environment. Students and staff could fill out the form anonymously but were encouraged to sign it so that I could sit with them individually to review, clarify ratings and remarks, perhaps explain myself and discuss where we go from here. I also explained that I would like to continue the practice and having signed forms would allow us to compare for progress or slippage over time.

Joe Duffy's "Being a Supervisor 1.0" is an essential handbook for supervisors of the future who will need this wisdom, to be effective supervisors today and tomorrow. Frances Hesselbein | President & CEO, The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute

Throughout the years it worked as I had hoped. Direct reports felt empowered and appreciated having a constructive voice in the workplace. While the scoring was always positive overall, there was always room for improvement. Successive administrations of the questionnaire confirmed a positive and improving work place.

I would also have a group meeting with my direct reports, share aggregated scores and narrative comments (absent any author identifying information), discussing strengths and opportunities, offering suggestions to address areas for improvement, and invite the group’s suggestions. I also shared results with my supervisor. As I advanced up the administrative chain of command, I invited direct reports who supervised others, to adapt the questionnaire and process with their direct reports inviting them to share the results with each other and with me. Most opted to share the results with me though some did not choose to share results the first time they used it.

I do believe the supervisors expectation questionnaire is a win, win, win, win process. The supervisor wins by learning about his/her strengths and weaknesses and growing from taking action on those results. The direct reports win in that they feel empowered to improve the work environment and improve communication with their supervisor as well as trust. The one on one discussion that take place between supervisor and direct report helps both persons to get to know each other better. The organization wins because the first two wins build and strengthen a positive work environment. And clients (customers) win because a positive work environment leads to better service.

Strong organizations all have one thing in common: skilled, effective supervisors, passionate about mission. Joe Duffy has delivered a terrific toolbox for new or aspiring supervisors, as well as more seasoned leaders keen to learn from another’s experience. Joe's half a century of education and experience percolate throughout this excellent and informative handbook. Kevin Ryan | President of Covenant House and former Commissioner, New jersey department of Children and Families

To implement the Supervisory Expectations Questionnaire in your workplace, start with the sample provided here. Adapt/edit it to suit your workplace. There is no magic to the number of questions, though I do suggest you keep it short which itself increases likelihood of getting a timely response. The 16 questions I used seem to be comprehensive and fit nicely on one two-sided piece of paper. If you are a new supervisor I suggest you wait a period of time for the staff to start to get to know (and trust) you, perhaps six months before introducing it. Then introduce it at a group meeting, circulate it (via email, handing it out, interoffice mail or survey monkey (if staff are familiar with survey monkey), read and think about the results. After considering the results and your reactions, schedule individual meetings to discuss each questionnaire. At these meetings ask clarifying questions of anything that you were surprised about, offer explanations (being careful not to be defensive), and discuss possible actions to improve upon areas identified for improvement. And be sure to thank the person for his/her candor and willingness to share. Then have a group discussion at a regular or special staff meeting.

I suggest waiting until you have administered the questionnaire at least twice before suggesting your direct reports who supervise other, use it with them. Once they are comfortable with the process they will be more receptive to using it with their direct reports. They might even ask to use it before you bring it up.

o learn more about the supervisory Expectations Questionnaire and about the importance of knowing yourself read chapter 13 Know Yourself (self-Assessment) in my book Being a Supervisor 1.0: A handbook for the New, Aspiring, and Experienced Supervisor.

Being a Supervisor 1.01 is an enjoyable read with time-tested ideas to inspire new supervisors and recharge existing supervisors. In this user-friendly guide, Joe Duffy highlights key management principles by offering practical advice that reinforces best practices. Readers will delight in this informative and concise presentation of supervisory lessons and the value of life-long learning. Deborah A. Fredericks, PhD. | Associate Dean of Continuing Education, Fairleigh Dickinson University




Joseph F Duffy, LLD

Joseph F. Duffy retired as the President of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Paterson which serves all of Morris, Passaic and Sussex Counties in New Jersey. He also served as the Executive Director of Straight and Narrow, Inc., the largest comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment program in New Jersey. Joe served as President of the Boards of Trustees of the three Catholic Charities Agencies in the Diocese which included Catholic Family and Community Services, Department for Persons with Disabilities and Straight & Narrow. He was also responsible for the Diocese’s Migrant Ministry, and Catholic Charities Development programs. Catholic Charities serves nearly 70,000 people annually and administers a budget of $57 million with a paid staff of over 800 and as 1000 volunteers. Prior to working at Catholic Charities, Joe worked for 21 years at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson where he served as Vice President for Ambulatory and Long-Term Care.

Joe has a Masters degree in non-profit management from Regis University in Colorado, a Masters degree in public administration from Rutgers University, a Masters degree in rehabilitation counseling from Seton Hall University, a Masters degree in special education from William Paterson University, and a Bachelors degree with a major in sociology from Seton Hall University. He is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit National Honor Society. In 2008 Joe received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station. In 2011 Joe received the United Way’s Cornerstone Award for outstanding community service. In 2012 Joe was recognized by Catholic Relief Services as an outstanding Diocesan Director. Joe received a Lifetime Caring Award from HomeCare Options in 2015 and was selected as Person of the Year by Catholic Charities’ Department for Persons with Disabilities (DPD) in 2017.

Joe taught as an adjunct faculty member at Ramapo College of New Jersey and the College of St. Elizabeth College on both the graduate and undergraduate level. He has served in the past as a field instructor for Ramapo College, Farleigh Dickinson, Fordham, William Paterson, Montclair State University, Bethlehem (Palestine), and Rutgers Universities and the University of Pittsburgh.

Joe has served on numerous non-profit Boards of Trustees on both the local and national level. He has conducted board training for other nonprofits across the country. In his capacity as President of Catholic Charities, Joe was responsible for developing a legislative advocacy manual that has been made available to parishes and schools. He is well known for his legislative advocacy work concerning issues affecting the poor both locally and nationally. In that capacity he is one of the founding members of the statewide advocacy group, the Catholic Coalition for a Just Budget.

Joe is a volunteer expert for Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Farmer to Farmer program travelling for three weeks at a time, three times a year to Africa providing board and management training and consultation to agriculture businesses. He is a peer reviewer for the Council on Accreditation (COA) travelling about the US as a peer review team member conducting accreditation visits for human service organizations.

Joe served as the Paterson Diocese Director for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and for Catholic Relief Services. In the former capacity Joe helped to raise money for anti-poverty programs across the US and recommended funding decisions. In the latter capacity, he helped to raise funds for the development work and emergency assistance program of CRS in over 100 countries around the world. He has traveled with CRS to countries in South America and Africa to learn of CRS’ efforts to alleviate poverty, provide disaster assistance, economic development, and peace-building. Joe has assisted local parishes in setting up international twinning programs. Joe has also authored a manual on how to obtain donated supplies for groups going on national or international service trips.





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