Dr. Rita's Blog
"If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles."
-- Jim Rohn
It’s hard for women to get useful feedback.
Many women hesitate to ask for feedback. Or when they do ask, they get feedback they can’t really use.
Not getting the right feedback holds women back from making their full contribution to their organizations.
And makes it a lot harder for them to get promoted.
Research by both Korn Ferry and Stanford University found that 57% of women got vague-sounding praise on reviews while only 43% of men had vague praise.
Only 40% of women had feedback tied to concrete business outcomes while 60% of men had their feedback directly tied to business outcomes.
Both studies found that men get a much clearer picture of what they are doing well, what they need to improve upon, and what's needed to get to the next level.
Recently, I saw first-hand the devastating impact not getting useful feedback has on women leaders.
I’ve been coaching a bright, talented women leader who has been frustrated in more ways than I can count because no matter how hard she tried she could not get useful feedback from her direct manager.
It was causing her to question her abilities as a leader.
She was losing her confidence and sleep.
She was spending time in the evenings and on the weekends away from her family because she was trying to guess and over compensate for not knowing what her manager truly wanted from her.
One of the things I coached her to do was link everything she was doing to the big picture goals of the organization. Through our coaching work her confidence returned and now she is not only taking her part of the organization to the next level, she is also being tapped by the CEO to bring more of her ideas forward.
She now has renewed energy, her eyes are sparkling, and most of all she has confidence in her ideas, is thinking strategically and making a much bigger impact on her organization, which she is very happy about.
The transformation was remarkable. This woman went from questioning her abilities to using all of her key strengths to lead change and transform her organization.
Without the coaching work, she would have answered the recruiter’s calls, and left the organization. Her organization would have lost one of their star performers.
This is one powerful example of what happens to women when they don’t get useful feedback.
Now that you know this, what can you do?
If you are a woman leader, ask for specific feedback that is linked to the strategy and goals of your organization. If your work isn’t linked to the big picture, you’ll be wasting time doing things that aren’t important long term.
If you are a direct manager to women, be sure you are talking to them about the strategy and big picture goals of the organization. And then help them link their work directly to those goals. Let the women know which projects are priorities and have the biggest impact.
To both women leaders and their managers, if you want help, reach out to me to talk about one on one coaching or enrolling your female direct reports in the next Women Managers Cohort to learn about feedback and other issues important for women to succeed.
Don’t risk losing your star female performers by falling into the trap of giving vague feedback. There are lots of other organizations out there willing to snatch up high potential women.
The next Women Manager’s Cohort kicks off on July 15. For more information or to enroll go to https://www.wiseleader.net/women-managers-cohort.html
Erica, one of the participants, had this to say about why the Cohort was valuable to her: "Having the ability to confirm or reflect on what I am strong at and what I need to work on based on the materials that are being provided. Being able to connect and learn more about the other women from my department that are going through this as well. Also learning more about how to be confident as a Leader."
You can talk to me about coaching or the cohort any time at 612-598-6614.
Rita Webster, Ph.D.
The Executive Coach for Women Leaders
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