The Real Reason Women Aren’t Advancing | TalentQ

Workforce Trends

Although many organizations tout the importance of appointing women to senior roles, many indicators still suggest that women lag behind men in representation in leadership positions. As noted in a post that I made last week, based on Lean In’s Women in the Workplace Report, the pandemic is exacerbating this issue as 1 in 4 women (including senior-level women executives) consider downshifting (working in a reduced capacity) their careers or leaving the workforce due to the pandemic. And although the pandemic is compounding the disparity in gender representation in senior levels, this perennial topic requires getting to more of the root causes. In this article, the authors asked the questions: “Why do early-career women not develop the skills and behaviors needed to be contenders for senior roles later in life, when their male counterparts do? Why did their professional development differ?” The article submits that lack of feedback over a career is one reason that women may not develop the skills and experiences necessary for success at the most senior levels. In other words, women suffer from getting less fair, developmental feedback, which undermines their ability to be prepared for more senior roles. This premise aligns with recent research on which I have posted, including Women Hear More White Lies in Performance Evaluations Than Men, where researchers from Cornell University found that underperforming women are given less truthful but kinder performance feedback than equally underperforming men. Anyhow, this Talent Q article offers five steps to remove gender bias from feedback, which is critical in addressing the larger issue. For those interested in giving fair and honest feedback in ways that improve performance while engaging and developing employees), the authors (Angela Lane and Sergey Gorbatov) also published a book, Fair Talk: Three Steps to Powerful Feedback.

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