Ladies, may I have a minute please? Let’s discuss how we handle negative feedback. I looked into a research that shows that women take negative feedback more seriously than men. It got me thinking and I decided to put it into writing.
Feedback is a major part of life. Businesses and Organizations ask for customers’ feedback about their products and services; it helps them improve and know where they need to work on to. In learning, it is a way to know how far you’ve gone and what you need to work on more, also it creates a base line for social skills.
As we mature, we begin to internalize feedback and let it shape us into who we become. Feedbacks are great, but when you begin to allow it form your being, it becomes a problem, especially for women, because we do it more often than men.
I didn’t have a good Chemistry teacher in secondary school. I was a good student but he either didn’t know how to teach or didn’t know the subject well. This made me hate Chemistry. I managed to have a C in my final exams, thanks to the extra lessons I attended.
I carried this mentality of “chemistry is hard” to the university, failed it the firsr time, yes, I had to retake it. That one chemistry teacher, who doesn’t even know where I am now or what I faced because of him, shaped the way I thought about chemistry my whole life, I still don’t like chemistry.
The research was based on how men and women react to negative feedbacks. The researchers found out that when women don’t receive feedback, they have the ability to press further in whatever field they’re in and aim for bigger prizes.
But when they do receive feedback and find out that their results don’t stack up against their peers, they’re likely to pull out even if they have more chances than others.
However, men tend to opt for the greater prize, no matter their score in the previous one, or whether they had good or bad feedback.
Also in the research, Shurchkov, a professor of economics at Wellesly, says, “men basically enter the competition regardless of their ability”. She also says, “Men attributed unexpected bad news to bad luck, but women attributed unexpected bad news to ability”.
Women blame themselves for their low scores or failures in life, but when they do well, they don’t praise themselves either, they attribute it to luck. Sound familiar?
In work environment, I have noticed that women tend to be more hesitant to risk losing when decisions are to be made. Even when men and women are just as competent in a particular area, women tend to hold back when they know a little mistake might blow up and mess up the whole job.
Men just go into it, take the decision and get it over with, but a woman takes her time, the whole time and eventually comes up saying she can’t do it, not that she really cannot do it, but because she is more sensitive to the negative feedback that might come up later.
What then can women do to ensure that we don’t let negative feedbacks affect our results? First, don’t wait for feedbacks to come to you, make conscious effort to search them out yourself and work on it. Most times, feedbacks come when you can no more do anything about it, when the deed has been done. But when you find them out yourself, you can still do something before anyone sees it.
Women should ask for feedback regularly and do something about it. Those who succeed the most in business are those who take feedback well, those who seek it and work on it. Having a strong will to get feedback helps people to be more willing to take risks and makes them more resilient.
When you receive feedback, especially negative ones, try to find ways to put them in a context in which they can help you work toward your goals. If someone, for instance, tells you, ‘you don’t know biology, you don’t belong to a medical school’, you don’t have to feel bad towards yourself; the person has simply given you an area you need to work on to make your biology better. Enroll for extra classes, read extra hours, and clear that biology.
Regular feedback is a gift; you should be grateful when you get them.
“The only time they stop giving you feedback is when they’ve given up on you”.
So, ladies, never allow negative feedback shape the way you relate with life, but rather let them be your basis for pressing further to achieve more!