Most people are incredibly loath to say anything negative about their boss or co-worker, but a great leader appreciates the need to hear the good, the bad and the ugly about their approach. That said, it’s never easy to enable the people you work with to share the truth about your leadership style.

That’s where the “informal 360” comes in, according to the Harvard Business Review.

In this type of meeting, whatever is shared is just between you and the person giving feedback, is off the official record and is not evaluated by human resources or executives. This can open a valuable safe space for evaluators to get real with you about your effect as a leader.

Plus, the informal 360 process builds mutual trust in a way a formal employee survey cannot.

While formal surveys can provide a vehicle for sharing comments anonymously, a common criticism is that comments lack depth or aren’t clear.

The informal 360 stimulates a shift in the way people interact and discuss these comments. And since leadership is, at its core, a relational and interactive skill, the informal 360 facilitates a change in the way leaders discuss performance with their teams.

One beneficial effect of engaging in these open dialogues about areas where you can improve is that, over time, it builds the kind of trust that allows you to be frank with others.

This is not to say that when you receive feedback, you immediately turn around and deliver your own feedback to the other person. (That old phrase about feedback being a gift doesn’t suggest “regifting” right away!) But graciously receiving feedback in the informal 360 can open a more productive dialogue about performance and the effect we have on others.