Dr. Laura Hamill: Women Don’t Get The Same Feedback As Men And It’s Hurting Their Advancement

June 23, 2021

Dr Laura Hamill

Feedback is part and parcel of working life. We give it, we receive it and mostly we hope that it is positive. Giving and receiving feedback is an art. Knowing how to respond or provide feedback is important because when done well feedback enables performance, engagement, sense of belonging and collaboration. In short knowing how to give feedback is a critical skill for surviving and thriving in workplaces today. But there is just one major problem, feedback is a gendered phenomenon, specifically the type of feedback men provide to women.

Not only do women get different types of feedback to that given to men like a number of professional women I know who have been given the feedback to “smile more” in contrast with another who was advised to be less friendly if she wanted to be taken seriously, but another study published in a Harvard Business Review article finds that managers tend to give female employees softened, less honest feedback on their performance. 

In particular, the article states that women are systematically less likely to receive specific feedback tied to outcomes, both when they receive praise and when the feedback is developmental. In other words, men are offered a clearer picture of what they are doing well and more-specific guidance of what is needed to get to the next level. 

In this weeks episode we are joined by Dr. Laura Hamill. She is an organizational psychologist and Chief Science Officer at the Limeade Institute. Laura unpacks how to be more effective at giving and receiving feedback, having difficult conversations and overcoming gender bias when it comes to the type of feedback we provide to women.