On a recent episode of Let’s Fix Work, I had the pleasure of speaking with Julie Zhou. She was the first intern employed at Facebook, and now she has worked her way up to VP of Product Design. She is the author of the new book, The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You. We discussed a range of topics including the difference between managers and leaders, as well as organizational trust. However, one key thing we discussed was feedback. Our culture sometimes struggles with giving feedback and distinguishing between good and bad feedback.

It is important to know what great feedback is and the fact that it can be positive. Julie describes great feedback as, “simply feedback that changes our behavior in a way that later on we’re grateful for and that we believe made our lives better.” It makes us happy to know a piece about ourselves that is possibly a new discovery and helps make a change for the better in the future. It is a way to seek improvement and growth. Often, we only give feedback about things that are negative, broken, or not going well. However, feedback does not have to be critical. We need to recognize each other’s strengths and offer positive feedback. This helps us to utilize our best skills.

Sometimes we are accustomed to thinking of feedback as judgment, as whether something was done well or not. However, Julie notes, “If you change your mindset to just think about feedback as simply, ‘this is the fastest way for me to learn and grow, and it doesn’t matter how good I am at this thing today,’ it means I can always get better at it.” And that opens the door to viewing feedback as a self-improvement tool. 

Often, companies have a difficult time figuring out how to get started with feedback. The way to begin, as Julie says, “is just to figure out how we can recognize each other’s strengths and the things that are going well and help encourage and push people to do more of that or to stretch and find opportunities to make greater use of that skill.” This can change a culture and inspire people to improve themselves and their careers. We are all on journeys as we progress throughout our careers, and not only hearing feedback but incorporating it into changes in the ways we do our jobs will help us with our personal growth. Feedback can be very positive and have powerful impacts not only on individuals but on the entire corporate culture.

If you would like to hear more of my amazing discussion with Julie Zhou, check out this episode of Let’s Fix Work!