The push for gender equality has resulted in more women ascending positions of power in the corporate world and in public service. However, the number of women holding positions as C-suite executives are still minimal compared to what should exist since the awareness began.
Studies have revealed that the reason behind this little number of women at the very top is because women are more cautious when faced with the choice of accepting roles of leadership. They only do so when they feel their capabilities and skills perfectly match the qualifications required for the job compared to their male counterpart.
A study conducted in 2015 showed that this cautiousness is as a result of a lack of confidence. The study proved that having confidence is one of the factors that influences a woman’s ability to lead. “Confidence is an attribute women themselves identify as the key to leadership success,” the study says.
One key thing that these studies have unravelled is that to rise to positions of power, every woman would have to take the personal responsibility for developing the confidence they need to lead.
Confidence is a key skill you need to make advancements not only in life but also in the workplace. How do you build it?
Increase Work Experience
Authors of “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know” Claire Shipman and Katty Kay expressed surprise when they discovered that women who rode on the wings of power also had a lack of confidence. “In two decades of covering American politics as journalists, we realized, we have between us interviewed some of the most influential women in the nation. In our jobs and our lives, we walk among people you would assume brim with confidence. And yet our experience suggests that the power centers of this nation are zones of female self-doubt—that is, when they include women at all” they said.They advised that to close the confidence gap,women need to increase experience in their area of expertise. “The good news is that with work, confidence can be acquired. Which means that the confidence gap, in turn, can be closed.”
Check Your Personal Narrative
What do you constantly tell yourself? If you boost yourself with encouraging words, you will find that your actions will match up with the things you have told yourself repeatedly and the result? Confidence! It will definitely show up at the door. The words you tell yourself will either place a self-imposed limit on you or energise you with the wings to fly higher.
Kiki a commenter on the Atlantics article on the “Confidence Gap” affirms through her personal experience that acting confident makes you confident. She wrote: “The best advice I can give you as someone who started out with no confidence and has been in the workforce for 8 years now, is fake it ’til you make it’ “. Virginia Rometty IBM chief executive and the first woman to hold this position recalled a time when she was offered a big job. She didn’t believe she was competent enough until her husband made her think differently. Virginia learnt through that experience that you have to act confident to be able to take a leap into something you feel is bigger than you can handle. “What it taught me was you have to be very confident, even though you’re so self-critical inside about what it is you may or may not know” she said.
Go The Extra Mile
Finally, Coach Ben Brearley advises that doing something that stretches you can help you build confidence. “Personally, the best thing I ever did for my life, leadership, and career was live overseas for a year, where I knew nobody, in a non-English speaking country. I had to start from scratch. When I succeeded at that, I built a tremendous amount of confidence”.
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