New Study: You’re More Likely to Tell a Woman a White Lie in a Performance Appraisal

We tell white lies to be nice. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, so we say something small that isn’t true. We learn this behavior at a very young age as we’re told to compliment Aunts on their terrible cooking. We carry this into adulthood, and it turns out, we continue to tell white lies to women–even in their performance reviews.

In a recent study, participants read mediocre essays and evaluated them. If they believed a woman wrote it (Sarah), they gave nicer feedback than if they thought a man (Andrew) wrote it. They were more likely to tell white lies to Sarah than they were to Andrew.

This may sound like they are trying to help women by being positive and nice, but the effect is the opposite. Women can’t improve if bosses don’t tell them what they need to change.

To keep reading, click here: New Study: You’re More Likely to Tell a Woman a White Lie in a Performance Appraisal

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12 thoughts on “New Study: You’re More Likely to Tell a Woman a White Lie in a Performance Appraisal

  1. Providing more honest feedback to one gender, then promoting them over the one not receiving constructive feedback, not only LOOKS like gender discrimination, it IS gender discrimination.

    1. But providing honest feedback to those women is going to look like sexism too, and maybe get the reviewer in trouble, at least if he is male.

      1. If someone doesn’t have the cojones to give their subordinates honest feedback, they’re already in “in trouble” — or, at least, in over their head — and simply don’t belong in management.

  2. I remember leaving with my siblings after a dinner at my grandma’s house many years ago. At the doorway, my sister gushed to g’ma about how wonderful it was to spend time together and share a meal.

    As soon as g’ma shut the door she said matter-of-factly “Arby’s anyone?”

    Sis is a manager now, I imagine she’s rather forthright in her evaluations.

    1. My sister says she doesn’t evaluate or communicate with women at work differently. However she’s in a technical realm and says “We live in a man’s world. We [women] are used to the communication styles as we are the minority and adapt to the majority.”

  3. Suzanne nailed it; you can’t do your best work without good feedback. It doesn’t have to be cruel, but it does need to be honest.

    Writing, a field where critique is not only helpful but necessary, is a good example. Several years ago, while looking for a writing group in my old city, I found one that emphasized positive reviews ONLY. They claimed it was because they didn’t want to discourage anybody. Well, a writer who can’t take feedback might as well just go do something else. I avoided that group because I knew I would learn nothing from it, and neither would anyone else.

  4. What behavior that was described in this article, is a sexist ploy which I thought we had eliminated, decades ago. Any company that still employes this tactic (I am assuming on young attractive females only) does not really equal rights/equal pay and any female who “tolerates” this behavior is not thinking of her long-term future but an immediate career “power” move. Both participants in this kind of interaction are part of the problem which we are still fighting for equal rights at work.

  5. Providing honest, objective feedback, particularly if accompanied by concrete examples, is unlikely to get anyone sued. The fact that you think women are going to file a lawsuit if the boss provides constructive criticism is exactly the problem here.

  6. The link to the article did not work for me either (Friday morning, June 5, 2020.

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