Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinron) opened up an important topic, highlighted in Harvard Business Review, about the difference between men and women responding to feedback about themselves. So many factors come into play, that I thought I’d follow the trail for a while.For example, the study was completed in Madrid, a very different culture from U.S..
“The study led by Margarita Mayo involved 221 MBA students—169 men and 52 women—who were assigned to “learning teams” of five or six members. At the end of each trimester, the members of each team rated each other on leadership skills. Looking at the feedback over time, Mayo found that while all the students started off by rating themselves higher than they were rated by their peers, women adapted to their team members’ perceptions of them much more quickly than men did.”
So a confident woman who rated herself a 5 in leadership, but whose team rated her at three would change her self-assessment to 3.A guy with the same self-perception might lower his assessment to 4.5.
There are other variables not included. The study sample is too small. Are teams one gender or mixed? The culture in Madrid may not be helpful on this side of the pond.
As a professional woman I am aware that negative feedback in my work can have several effects: I can say, Who cares. I know myself. Or if were more needy and less secure about my abilities, I might engage in self-doubt. For me, this would entail not taking everything so personally. Some negative feedback is accurate. Other feedback is given because of bias, opposition to women running large firms positions, even fear of having a woman boss.
I would say, that employers would do well to give balanced feedback, that being critiqued by one’s peers is not always comfortable. On the other hand, a truly autonomous individual listens to criticism, uses what is helpful, and file the rest away..