Therese Huston: Gender Bias in Feedback + What Women Can Do to Get & Use Effective Feedback

Therese Huston Smiling leaning against a wall


Did you know that gender bias can negatively impact the quality of the feedback you get? Or that sometimes, you boss takes it in his head to be kind and benevolent and ends up hurting your growth? 

We discuss all that and more in this episode that’s going to surprise, enrage, and educate you. Managers give feedback differently to women and there is a lot of unconscious bias that shows up in workplace interactions but our guest shares everything that you can do to solicit effective feedback and how best to use critical feedback to create intentional and impactful changes in your performance.

Pin Design for Podcast Episode with Therese Huston

About the guest-

Therese Huston is a cognitive scientist at Seattle University and the author of three books.  Her latest book, Let’s Talk:  Make Effective Feedback Your Superpower, was recently published by Penguin Random House.  Therese received her BA from Carleton College and her MS and PhD in cognitive psychology from Carnegie Mellon University.  She completed a post-doc at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, and she recently graduated from  Oxford University’s Said Business School. 

In 2004, Therese founded the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Seattle University.  Her last book, How Women Decide, was named a summer reading title by and called “required reading on Wall Street” by the New York Times.  Therese has written for many publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, and Harvard Business Review

Therese leads workshops and consults internationally on how to give and solicit more actionable feedback at work.  In addition to giving a TEDx talk, Therese has talked at Microsoft, Amazon, Northwestern Mutual, the Cleveland Clinic, and the US State Department about how to create more inclusive workplaces.  Her favorite place to speak was Harvard Business School to a standing-room only crowd, and her least favorite was a conference in Denver, Colorado where no one showed up. 

When she’s not writing or speaking, she loves to spend time with her husband and Boston Terrier.  She also likes to travel, play with numbers, work her yoga mat, and bake amazing gluten-free chocolate cake.  If she isn’t holding a cup of tea, you’ve probably caught her at a bad time.

Listen to the episode below-

This episode discusses topics like-

00:42 – Topic Introduction

04:10 – Why Therese chose to focus her writings and work on women in workforce

06:30 – What led to writing about and researching the subject of gender bias in feedback?

09:15 – What we generally assume when we are given bad feedback 

10:28 – Could the bias be deliberate?

12:30 – Signs that you are being given biased feedback

16:50 – ‘Prove-It Again’ bias against women and ‘Protective Hesitation’ when giving critical feedback

21:30 – Is bias also showing up when promotions and projects are granted?

26:00 – Are women more aggressive than men?

28:40 – How to solicit effective feedback?

31:30 – How to identify bias in the feedback you’ve received?

40:50 – What can managers do to avoid bias?


Resources + Guest Info

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