A Wake Up Call to Women in the Workplace


Back when I worked in corporate, I dreaded performance reviews.

The thought of getting criticism or negative feedback made me so anxious.

What if they don't like me? Does that mean I'm not good enough to work here?

Fortunately, those days are gone, but I still take a deep breath before reading any feedback.

It's tough to take it in sometimes.

I once read an eye-opening New York Times article by Tara Mohr titled, "Learning to Love Criticism" about the amount of criticism that's dished out to women in the workplace.

"A NEW study by the linguist and tech entrepreneur Kieran Snyder, done for Fortune.com, found two differences between workplace performance reviews given to men and women. 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."

This should be a wake up call to women.

The reality is, women live and work in a world where receiving negative feedback is the norm.

I know it's hard to swallow that pill.

I know it hurts. (I'd rather hear praises, too.)

The truth is, criticism can feel like a personal assault, even when, intellectually, you know there might be a grain of truth in it.

So, what do you do when you've just had a review that didn't go as well as you'd expected?

First, take a breath and get centered. Criticism stings. It's ok feel let down. But rather than get washed out in a sea of self-loathing, take a second and be kind to yourself. Treat your bruised ego with care.

And when you are ready, reexamine the comments under a different lens.

Often, hidden inside critical comments are seeds of opportunity for personal learning and growth.

Put your emotions and ego aside, and see if there's something you can learn from it.

It's Time to Face Reality

The reality is, no matter how hard you work or what results you deliver, it is impossible to please everyone. Don't waste your time and energy on that.

Rather, recognize that you have skills, experience, and talent. Trust in the abilities that got you this far, and know, no matter what, you are ok.

Then, boldly ask yourself: What can I learn from this?

Rather than shrinking and wasting time beating yourself up, decide to be the leader of your own life.

Every moment, every criticism, every situation offers you an opportunity to expand or to contract.

Leaders choose to look for the lesson.

What choice do you make?

My private 1-on-1 clients who have taken this to heart have transformed their careers and lives. If you are ready to get out of rut and build an unshakable inner strength, schedule a Clarity Call and let's talk.


Nozomi Morgan, MBA, is a certified Executive Coach and the Founder and President of Michiki Morgan Worldwide LLC. Addition to coaching, she speaks and trains on leadership, career, professional development and cross-cultural business communication.

Visit www.nozomimorgan.com to learn more about Nozomi . There, you can download the free Leadership Discovery Tool. Follow Nozomi on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.