Three steps for women to be more confident in the workplace
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
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.
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
“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.
Supporting one another is essential to confidence. When you clamber over each other to get to the top, no one comes out unscathed.