Three steps for women to be more con­fi­dent in the work­place

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFESTYLE - By KELLY HOP­PEN

We all hear a lot about the neg­a­tives sur­round­ing gen­der dif­fer­ence at work: pay gaps, dis­par­ity in the num­ber of male to fe­male CEOs, un­break­able glass ceil­ings. By be­ing more aware of the is­sues, we can ac­knowl­edge the sit­u­a­tion and be­gin to change it.

But it’s im­por­tant not to lose sight of the pos­i­tives.

I was re­cently hum­bled to re­ceive an Inspirational award from Women: In­spi­ra­tion & En­ter­prise. At the cer­e­mony, I found my­self sur­rounded by suc­cess­ful women in busi­ness and it was so re­fresh­ing to hear them talk openly and proudly about their tal­ents, ideas and en­ergy.

Their sto­ries re­ally mo­ti­vated me. I was an emo­tional world away from be­ing dis­heart­ened by gen­der in­equal­ity.

That night also high­lighted three things I truly value in busi­ness and that in­still in me — and hope­fully those around me too — con­fi­dence. They are: bal­ance, sup­port and self­be­lief.

It’s es­sen­tial to talk about gen­der di­vides in the work­place as much as cel­e­brat­ing the im­pres­sive things women are al­ready do­ing. Do­ing so, inspires other women, and men.

Those two lit­tle words are im­por­tant: and men.

En­cour­ag­ing con­fi­dence in women doesn’t mean cas­ti­gat­ing men. To me, that’s a waste of en­ergy. What we need is to recog­nise that fe­male sen­si­bil­i­ties can bring a lot to busi­ness.

Sup­port­ing one an­other is es­sen­tial to con­fi­dence. When you clam­ber over each other to get to the top, no one comes out un­scathed

Shar­ing, talk­ing, an abil­ity for em­pa­thy — and make no mis­take, I’m not sug­gest­ing th­ese are the re­serve of women — are hugely ben­e­fi­cial.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that women’s

1 Bal­ance:

dif­fer­ences are the very things that make them cred­i­ble at work pro­motes con­fi­dence. Com­pa­nies that un­der­stand the com­ple­men­tary value of dif­fer­ences be­tween the sexes can only be suc­cess­ful.

Sup­port is a loaded word, as it con­jures-up stereo­typ­i­cal im­ages of the ‘weaker’ sex.

2 Sup­port:

This isn’t what I mean. For me, sup­port is find­ing peo­ple and frame­works that boost your (hope­fully) ex­ist­ing con­fi­dence. That might be a com­pany that un­der­stands the value of gen­der di­ver­sity, or a men­tor whose achieve­ments make them well placed to ad­vise and con­grat­u­late you on yours. Sup­port­ing one an­other is es­sen­tial to con­fi­dence. When you clam­ber over each other to get to the top no one comes out un­scathed.

Kelly Hop­pen, a top in­te­rior de­signer in Lon­don

A prod­uct of both bal­ance and sup­port, and es­sen­tially a syn­onym for con­fi­dence. If you want to con­vince some­one that you are right for the job, or wor­thy of pro­mo­tion, you have to be­lieve it your­self.

Have the con­fi­dence to show your dif­fer­ent sides. Be straight talk­ing when you need to; lis­ten when it’s called for; be cer­tain of your bril­liance; and be your own judge. Don’t go in there think­ing that you are good

3 Self-be­lief:

“for a wo­man”. Go in there be­ing cer­tain that you are a tal­ented per­son.

When nei­ther so-called fem­i­nine nor mas­cu­line char­ac­ter­is­tics are un­der­val­ued by each sex, it’s no longer ta­boo for women to talk about earn­ing money, hav­ing am­bi­tion or go­ing for the C-suite.

My fe­male con­fi­dence call to arms is this: start a pos­i­tive chain re­ac­tion by recog­nis­ing your worth and your unique qual­i­ties. Find peo­ple or a busi­ness who un­der­stand you and ap­pre­ci­ate your value. Seek out other in­spir­ing women and think “if she can do it, I can too.” Be­lieve in your­self.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Sup­port­ing one an­other is es­sen­tial to con­fi­dence. When you clam­ber over each other to get to the top, no one comes out un­scathed.

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