The Gender Gap in Feedback and Self-Perception
August 31, 2016
My new article in Harvard Business Review
Most of us tend to think a little too highly of ourselves, according to the science. Researchers have consistently found that we humans tend to overestimate our own performance. This creates a challenge for peers who give us critical feedback: even friendly colleagues are likely to perceive us as having more weaknesses than we would attribute to ourselves. When faced with conflicting information about our skills – our own opinions as well as other people’s – how do we respond?
Research has examined the short-term effects of peer feedback, but little is still known about how long these responses last. Because receiving feedback from peers calls into question our self-perceptions, it is not unreasonable to expect that some of us will develop psychological defense mechanisms. In other words, receiving feedback involves some emotional fallout that may block the very same learning processes they are intended to boost.