Hearing your manager say you’re doing a great job is, of course, lovely. But without examples of your greatness in action, or suggestions for how to be even better, you don’t have the information you need to keep improving. Studies have found that women tend to get feedback that’s vague or tied to their personalities, which doesn’t boost our performance ratings. Meanwhile, men get feedback that’s specific and tied to business outcomes, which sets them up to develop and be promoted.
First, we talk with Harvard Business School professor Robin Ely about the research on women and feedback. Next, we talk with Tuck School of Business professor Ella Bell Smith about how to draw out actionable, useful feedback from our managers, and how to respond when we’re not getting what we need to succeed.
Our HBR reading list:
“What Most People Get Wrong About Men and Women
,” by Catherine H. Tinsley and Robin J. Ely
“The Gender Gap in Feedback and Self-Perception
,” by Margarita Mayo
“How Gender Bias Corrupts Performance Reviews, and …
,” by Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio
“Research: Vague Feedback Is Holding Women Back
,” by Shelley Correll and Caroline Simard
Get the discussion guide for this episode on our website: hbr.org/podcasts/women-at-work
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Our theme music is Matt Hill’s “City In Motion,” provided by Audio Network.