I’m really inspired by the way athletes get better with every game they play. They receive feedback almost instantly making them perform better. Most of us aren’t taught what matters and what doesn’t when it comes to improving performance, especially at work. I believe seeking and giving feedback regularly is the best way to constantly improve performance.
Collaboration and real-time feedback have played an instrumental role in my career. I thought I wanted to specialize in backend engineering out of college. However, my team quickly took note of my passion for frontend development and design. Through their feedback, I switched over to a role that aligned with my superpowers. I’ve been fortunate to be on the receiving end of amazing feedback and hope I can do the same for others through Matter.
There have been many times in my career when candid, actionable feedback would have made a bad situation better, or a good situation more awesome. When I started as a manager, I received feedback that my enthusiasm during conversation steamrolls over other people. Receiving ongoing feedback on this has made me a much better listener, and in turn more effective in my work.
Helpful and candid feedback has transformed the way I view and navigate my career. However, such feedback is so scarce in many workplaces. Being part of a growing Engineering org, I've always appreciated how intentional, yet caring my current team delivers feedback. Their feedback has not only been instrumental to the growth of my technical foundation, but also my development as a leader.
Early in my career, I was confused by feedback I received during a formal review. After debriefing with a close mentor, I realized my confusion didn’t stem from the feedback itself, but rather in its delivery. The feedback caught me by surprise. Since then, I’ve sought feedback proactively. This proactiveness has led me to grow in all aspects of my life, from personal development to career ownership.
At Intuit I was leading an entirely distributed team with daily group video chats. My manager gave me the feedback that my facial expressions were making them feel as if I thought they were stupid. I was totally unaware of non-verbal communication being a “thing” and I felt awful. After correcting the behavior, those team members are now some of my closest friends and colleagues.
As a designer, my process relies heavily on honest, constructive criticism. When I started my career, I tended to stay within my comfort zone. As a result, I struggled with how I received feedback. This made me plateau as a problem solver and critical thinker. Today, I’ve gotten past those fears and appreciate the learning opportunities that come from feedback.
While engaging in the art of communication, I find myself committing a million micro-failures every single day. I am finally aware of both my strengths and weaknesses thanks to the brutally honest feedback I have received. Realizing where I could improve was the first step in becoming a better version of myself. Feedback is just the right tool for that.
As an engineer, I believe improvement is powered by measuring what you want to optimize and using the feedback from your measurements to iterate toward optimum solutions. I want to be the most effective version of myself possible. Consistently getting candid, actionable feedback from my peers helps me make the small course corrections that add up to large, sustainable improvements over time.
Feedback has helped me pause and appreciate the beauty in struggling. During my first internship, I was told that I wasn't supposed to come in knowing everything. It's about being hungry and eager to learn from your peers. It's with that feedback that helped me embrace all my imperfections and fueled my transformation into a better me. Feedback is about progress, not perfection.
Some of the best feedback I received was “you don’t have to do your work alone.” I was an individual contributor working on a large cross-team initiative. I failed, and we decided to stop working on it. I later learned that when someone asks you to do something, it doesn’t mean they are looking for you to be the sole contributor. Ask for their help.
As a volunteer and organizer for a mentorship nonprofit, I know first-hand the lasting impact that a growth mindset can have on the lives of our scholars — many of whom are first-generation college students. Helping our students embrace a growth mindset and proactively seek amazing feedback to grow as individuals (and future leaders) has been incredibly rewarding.