Senior Consultant & CEO Track Surveys
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Different Feedback for male and female leaders?

25th Aug 2009
Senior Consultant & CEO Track Surveys
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This article sets out some easy (and cost effective) steps for developing great female leaders in an organisation - these should apply equally well to male leaders of course!
But do you agree that males and females need, and respond to, different types of feedback?
http://news.alibaba.com/article/detail/entrepreneur/100161154-1-create-l...

My view is that a well-structured and carefully designed feedback framework is absolutely critical for all aspiring leaders, for the reasons mentioned in the article. 360 Degree Feedback asks the same questions of all observers (as well as the individual's self assessment) and therefore obtains the feedback in a consistent way. This means that observers aren't just picking the bits of feedback they decide are important; it also makes it much easier to compare the self assessement with feedback from the observers, and the feedback from the different observer groups.

To be fair to both female and male leaders I think it's critical that their feedback processes are the same. 360 Degree Feedback is a great way of ensuring consistency and a stronger element of objectivity for everyone.

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By AJ Allan
26th Aug 2009 12:53

While 360 degree feedback may appear to offer a consistent process for male and female leaders, it does nothing to challenge underlying stereotypes. The evidence has shown that women are judged more harshly when they demonstrate typical leadership behaviours as these are seen to be inherently male. For example assertiveness in a man is seen as a positive quality, while a woman will be judged as aggressive in the same situation.

Until we consistently challenge the stereotypical assumptions about what is expected of women vs what makes a "leader" any form of feedback will continue to be inaccurate.

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Jo Ayoubi of Track Surveys: Building Feedback Culture for a Better Workplace
By Jo Ayoubi
10th Sep 2009 12:09

Thanks for you response, and your comment about challenging underlying assumptions of how women should behave and perform. It really made me stop and think.

Do you think that men are also judged in certain ways and that assumptions are made about them too?  I guess we all suffer (some groups more than others) from others' stereotypes of us, and their expectations.

I also think that a 360 Degree Feedback could be an excellent tool for challenging the stereotypes and expectations by asking questions and pointing to leadership behaviours that are desired and desirable for both women and men, and that are not aligned to the traditional male-oriented leadership profile.  

I'm certainly going to go away and review some of our work in this new light - thanks again for the comment. 

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