Research: Men Get More Actionable Feedback Than Women | Harvard Business Review

Talent Development

Few would dispute that receiving honest and timely development feedback positively impacts an individual’s work performance, professional growth, and career opportunities. And while most organizations tout the importance of development feedback, this new research suggests that women tend to be given less actionable and less effective feedback than men. The authors identified four differences in how advice and development feedback is framed for female leaders: 1) Vision – feedback to women focuses on delivering the vision rather than developing it, 2) Political skills – the focus is on coping with politics versus leveraging politics, 3) Asserting Leadership – the emphasis is on getting along and cooperating with others rather than being assertive and ‘claiming their space,’ 4) Confidence – generic advice is given such as “be more confident” instead of specific examples that are more likely to be given to men, such as “express arguments more forcefully.” One implication of these results is that women will be less likely to advance to more senior positions due to less actionable feedback. Ideas are provided on how to overcome these feedback obstacles. You can check out two other posts I made related to this topic: Women Hear More White Lies in Performance Evaluations Than Men (Cornell Chronicle) and The Real Reason Women Aren’t Advancing (Angela Lane and Sergey Gorbatov).

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