Day 30/100: Julie Zhou on the Art of Feedback

Day 30/100: Julie Zhou on the Art of Feedback

In the collaborative world of design and leadership, feedback often carries an ambiguous aura—sometimes welcome, often dreaded. Julie Zhou's Fireside Chat on "How to Give and Receive Feedback" offers a profound shift from the conventional wisdom that surrounds this crucial interaction. Here's how Julie reshapes our understanding and practice of feedback into an art form that accelerates growth and fosters strong relationships. This is the YouTube link to the talk and the summary is below.

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(Why) Reframing Feedback as a Gift

Julie Zhou confesses that she once viewed feedback as an indicator of error, a one-way street from the more experienced to the novices, where positive feedback was synonymous with good. However, she now champions feedback as a precious gift, a catalyst for personal and professional development. It's a tool for illumination, revealing the blind spots we all possess and motivating us to action that we can take pride in.

(What) Strategies for Eliciting and Offering Better Feedback

1. Picking Your Level of Feedback

Julie introduces a tiered approach to feedback, suggesting we ask for or give:

  • Task-Specific Feedback: Focused on the intricacies of a particular task.

  • Behavioral Feedback: Centered on the patterns of behavior and their impacts.

  • 360 Feedback: A comprehensive look from all angles, encompassing all aspects of performance and interaction.

2. Crafting Your Inquiries and Statements

Julie provides a toolkit for soliciting feedback effectively:

  • For Task-Specific Feedback:

    • What aspects of my work shone brightly?

    • How could this work be further enhanced?

  • For Behavioral Feedback:

    • What strengths of mine do you believe should be emphasized?

    • Are there any behaviors or habits you feel are limiting my potential?

  • For Meta Feedback:

    • How can we establish a productive feedback exchange?

When giving feedback, Julie suggests using a structure that communicates the action, your response to it, and the reason why, followed by an optional suggestion for alternative actions. Most importantly, check if your feedback resonates with the recipient.

3. Making Feedback a Regular Practice

Creating a routine around feedback turns it into a habit:

  • For Giving Feedback:

    • Aim to offer feedback daily or whenever a certain emotion is triggered.
  • For Requesting Feedback:

    • Regularly ask for feedback, perhaps monthly or after completing a significant task.

(How) Navigating the Landscape of Feedback

Receiving Critical Feedback

When faced with negative feedback, Julie advises always to respond with gratitude and maintain a positive demeanor, recognizing the emotional weight it may carry.

Giving Tough Feedback

When offering critical feedback, Julie emphasizes:

  • Checking Your Intentions: Ensure the feedback serves the recipient, not just your perspective.

  • Expressing Your True Feelings: Be candid about the emotions the feedback process evokes in you.

  • Inviting Their Perspective: Actively listen to their side of the story.

  • Building Relationships: Remember, the best relationships are often forged through the fires of honest, challenging conversations.

Feedback is not just about pointing out what's wrong—it's a powerful force for growth and learning. By adopting Julie Zhou's nuanced approach, we can transform feedback from a dreaded task into an opportunity for building understanding and strengthening connections. Let's reshape our work cultures to view feedback as the gift it truly is—a step towards where we want to be, faster and with more confidence. 🌟 #Leadership #DesignThinking #FeedbackIsAGift

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