So, how confident do you feel about your work? Not very...! The Institution of Leadership & Management's research 'Ambition & Gender at Work' suggests that over 50% of women report feelings of self-doubt about their performance and careers. Time and time again research shows that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence. According to the Huffington Post, confidence is what allows you to start acting and risking and failing, to stop mumbling and apologising and hesitating. With it you can take on the world; without it you remain stuck on the starting block of your own potential.
So how do you develop confidence?
- Use empowering language: Aston Universities Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Julia King says women tend to use more cautious, less aggressive/assertive language, and often apologise for what they are about to say - ‘This isn't quite my subject area, but perhaps you might consider…’ ‘I am not sure this is exactly relevant, but…’ This can be interpreted as weakness and makes what women say easier to dismiss or ignore. My colleague Ghislaine Dell is delivering a workshop on Confident Communication at the Women in Leadership Conference, tacking this very issue!
- Banish Negative Self-Talk: It is amazing how self-talk can lead us in to or out of a situation. If you can, take time to visualise the discussion or event going well rather than thinking of the things that may go wrong. Ask yourself, 'whats the worst that could happen?' - when you do this, you get a clarity and a bit of fear vanishes.
- Take a risk: Become comfortable with things that you don’t know, and turn your fear into an eagerness to learn new skills.
- Celebrate your successes: The best confidence boost is to celebrate your successes and keep reminding yourself of it by writing them on post-it notes. Then have them displayed in an area that you can view each day e.g. kitchen, wardrobe, medicine cabinet etc.
Our blog this week will focus on providing tips and support to our female students, this is to support the Women in Leadership Conference that is being organised by the Student Union at Bath.