What Should You Do About Negative Feedback (Especially When It’s Personal)

what you should do about negative feedback

“Across 248 reviews from 28 companies, managers, whether male or female, gave female employees more negative feedback than they gave male employees. Second, 76 percent of the negative feedback given to women included some kind of personality criticism, such as comments that the woman was “abrasive,” “judgmental” or “strident.” Only 2 percent of men’s critical reviews included negative personality comments.

-Except from Tara Mohr’s Article in the NYTimes

A recent article in the Sunday Review of the NYTimes quoted these startling statistics. The author’s take-away was that in light of this information, women need to learn how to absorb criticism without getting derailed.

That is true, however I can’t help but think that what’s really being called for in this situation, is awareness by both men and women that this inequality is happening. If personality is so crucial to success, why is everyone not held to the same standards? Or are managers using personality as a proxy for saying other important things like “your team doesn’t feel you accept new ideas” or “people don’t feel comfortable sharing issues with you?”

Whatever the reason, perhaps the answer is not to take criticism better but to make sure that as you fill out performance reports, you’re talking about about the issues you see at work because of personality – not just using personality traits as a shorthand.

I’m curious about you? Have you ever had personal negative feedback in a review? Have you ever given it?

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

Leave a Comment