Confidence. We all need it and yet we find ourselves in search of it often. Even leaders struggle with confidence, and study after study has demonstrated that women lag in the confidence pool when compared to their male counterparts. For many women, gaining confidence is the much-needed piece of the puzzle toward their leadership goals.
So why do we need confidence? The perception of confidence is just as good as actually having confidence. Employees prefer confident leaders and even perform better at their job when led by one.
So what does confidence look like?
Embrace your value.
Know what you bring to the table. Chances are, you don’t know everything or know how to do everything. For some, this fact of not knowing everything becomes a secret to hide, but for others it’s how they leverage relationships and encourage collaboration. Knowing what you bring to the table means you aren’t intimated by the skills of others; it helps you articulate your value, stay focused on what you can contribute versus cannot contribute, and allows you to showcase your talent.
Learn to speak of your achievements.
I find when I ask individuals to share their accomplishments, they often say “I don’t like to come across as a showoff” or “it is not about me, it’s about the company.” My response is often “well… yes and no.” You are right, no one likes a bragger, but it’s also frustrating to work with someone who doesn’t realize how great they are. Also, companies do not become great by themselves, they become great because of people like you. The next time you have an opportunity to talk about your accomplishments, discuss how your work helped the company be better. Focusing on the outcomes will get you used to talking about your accomplishments.
Know your industry.
How many times did you have a solution or perspective you wanted to share at a meeting, but you weren’t 100% sure if you would be right and so you held back? We hear this from women all the time. We also hear frustration when someone else states what they were thinking, and everyone praised them for it. You can’t have it both ways. Leaders are expected to know their industry. Your staff and colleagues expect you to know current trends, industry forecasts, and major issues impacting your industry. If you are too busy to read up on trends, know this is a problem. As leaders, it is important that you stay current; this way the next time you’re in a meeting and a topic you know about is being discussed, you can offer input and expertise.
WSG delivers training, coaching and consulting services to corporations and educational institutions that are committed to developing the next generation of leaders. Our leadership training programs are the best investment you can make for your company and your high potentials. For more information, visit us at www.workplacesuccess.com, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (203) 757-4103.
Karen Hinds is a leadership and diversity and inclusion expert. She used her experience in building talent pipelines for financial services companies to launch her company over 20 years ago. Workplace Success Group is a strategic, talent development firm that works with organizations to cultivate and retain their next generation of leaders.