My First 360 Review: 7 Things I Learned (And My Recommendation For You)

My First 360 Review: 7 Things I Learned (And My Recommendation For You)

This past Fall, a couple of members of my elder team led in conducting my first 360 review. If you’re not familiar with a 360-degree review, it is a process of feedback that is designed to give the person being reviewed a much clearer and robust picture of their performance by involving superiors, subordinates, and peers.

In a ministry context, my 360 review included feedback from our elder team, our staff team, and church members.

All feedback was given to me anonymously but the presentation of the review was guided by the two members of the elder team who led the review process. They provided me a hard copy of the findings early in the day that we were scheduled to meet to discuss the findings so that I could look it over ahead of time.

What follows are 7 things I learned and what I would recommend for you.

7 Things I Learned From My First 360 Review

  1. I have some insecurities. Some weird things began happening in my spirit as the anticipation of the review being conducted and presented to me built. I began racking my brain, trying to remember times I had screwed up or times I didn’t shepherd someone through change well. Searching. Searching. Even though no major things came to mind, the anxiety remained.
  2. I have some trust issues. Again, this was rearing its ugly head before I had even received the review. One of our leader values at FCC is to choose trust but I was having a hard time living this value out. Would people’s perception of me be close to reality? Would someone use this review as a vehicle to unload on me when they didn’t have the guts to share their frustrations with me to my face? If you’re familiar with the Enneagram, I’m an 8w7 which means anger is an easy emotion for me. I was noticing myself getting angry just in anticipation of the review. Ugly stuff!
  3. I needed those first two things exposed in my spirit. Regardless of what would end up being on the review, I truly needed to be made aware of the fact that just the anticipation of this review was exposing two ugly things in my heart: insecurities and trust issues. As I started noticing these things bubble to the surface, I had to repeatedly go to God in prayer and ask Him to deal with these areas of pride. As the day of the review being presented to me arrived, I was in a much better place but I still wasn’t a hundred percent at peace.
  4. People care. As I received the results of my 360 review, it became clear that one of the major points of counsel that was identified through multiple people was to make sure I am not overworking myself and that I am prioritizing my family well even with the demands of leading the church. And wow. That spoke a lot to me. For one, we had definitely had a number of busy “seasons” that were becoming far too frequent and my wife and I recognized that and had started to address it. For two, the fact that people paid attention enough to notice that and advised me to slow down was really encouraging. I’ve heard some horror stories of some churches never feeling like their pastors work enough even though they work their tails off. I’m grateful to be able to lead a church that cares about me and my family.
  5. There’s always room for more communication. Much of 2019 (my first year at FCC) was filled with observing, learning, asking questions, and addressing the things I saw that were basic, vital, and low-hanging fruit. In a sense, it was a bit reactionary because of the nature of your first year in a new ministry context. But through the 360 review, it became clear that I needed to communicate even more the reality of what I was observing, learning, and addressing. My leaders wanted to know more and since we were approaching a new year, I knew I had a fantastic opportunity to bring clarity to what 2020 would look like. So out of the 360 review, I developed the strategic plan calendar and goal spreadsheet as well as the leadership development calendar spreadsheet that you can get inside The Intentional Pastor’s Toolkit.
  6. People are excited about the church’s direction. It’s one thing to get the sense that people are excited and that the overall feel of the church has shifted, but to see people’s direct feedback is so beneficial. As the lead pastor, it’s my job to make sure that I prayerfully define reality of what is currently so that I can prayerfully cultivate clarity for where we want to go and who we want to be as we move into the future. But defining reality is impossible unless we are in a relationship with our people and we have methods to get direct feedback on direct questions. The 360 review helped me see that our people are excited about the church’s direction. That’s helpful. Now I can take that excitement and we can continue to build on it.
  7. I would be missing out on key insights if we hadn’t done this 360 review. I have always enjoyed quarterly and annual review meetings. Yes, this one was different because the methodology was far different than anything I had ever been a part of. But overall, I love the opportunity to speak to those I serve under and alongside about big picture things, where I can improve, and how I sense God leading. The 360 review, however, has included in it the aspect of the review process that I always enjoy (the meeting in person and talking) as well as the aspect of direct feedback (something that has been rarer in my experience). As I talked about in this article on preaching, direct feedback and intentional practice are vital to growing in any area of life. The 360 review provided the opportunity for both.

My Recommendation For You

In case you haven’t caught on yet, I highly recommend the 360-degree review be a part of your annual leadership rhythm.

That is, I recommend the 360 review process if you want to:

  • Stay fresh
  • Grow in your leadership
  • Gain clarity
  • Receive accountability
  • Identify blind spots
  • Be encouraged

So if you want those things, I would encourage you to take action in the following ways.

Steps to Implementation

  1. Talk to your leadership team (share this article with them and then sit down to talk to them about it).
  2. Come to the meeting with your own reasons for why you want to do this.
  3. Have your leadership team identify a couple of people among themselves to lead the process.
  4. Encourage them to research the best questions to ask and encourage them to take the process from there.

Categories of Questions

The following are the categories of questions that were included in my 360 review. When put together, they gave me a clear picture across the board.

  • Character and Attitudes
  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • Work Habits
  • Interpersonal
  • Ministry Focus

In the Meantime, Become More Intentional

Are you going to implement the 360 review?

Leave a comment below, send us a tweet, or join the conversation in our Facebook group for pastors.

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Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Lead Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.

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