Building Confidence

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Building Confidence (10)

Think Less, Fail More: 5 Strategies to Boost Women’s Confidence

In my last post, I discussed how women can benefit from the “fake it until you make it” approach when it comes to improving their confidence levels. Men often use this strategy without thinking about it, erring on the side of overconfidence, while many women end up inadvertently holding themselves back from advancement opportunities by believing themselves to be less capable than they really are.

In SHAMBAUGH’s Women in Leadership Learning (WILL) Program, we share a number of strategies to help boost women’s confidence, which is important in developing a strong leadership and executive presence. Here are five steps that women can start taking today to let others know that they’re ready, willing, and able to take on the tough assignments that can lead to big opportunities...

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Women’s Confidence—How to Get It If You Don’t Have It

Fake it until you make it.” When I wrote my latest book Make Room for Her, that was a central piece of advice that men gave women when it came to the issue of confidence. When researching the book, I spoke with a male colleague of mine who is an Executive Vice President of global business development, who had this to say on the subject of women and confidence:

“The only way you grow is to lose some battles along your way to winning the war. When taking on new opportunities or working in unfamiliar areas where you have little or no experience, it’s important to be okay with knowing that you are going to stumble and fall. You will certainly make mistakes, but in the long run you will learn and grow, which will make you considerably more valuable to others.”

This EVP also told me that women need to keep “putting themselves out there” and “taking the risks involved with something that’s new to them,” adding that doing so starts with believing in themselves. “Women have to know that they can be successful without having all the answers and they have to be willing to fail in order to ultimately succeed,” he said.

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Top 3 Leadership Attributes Women Need in the 21st Century

A 2015 study from Pew Research Center found that the majority of the American public agrees that women are as capable and qualified for corporate leadership as men are. Pew reports that “most Americans find women indistinguishable from men on key leadership traits such as intelligence and capacity for innovation, with many saying they’re stronger than men in terms of being compassionate and organized leaders.”

But as we all know, at the end of the day, that vote of confidence hasn’t resulted in gender equality in top leadership positions. There’s no need to restate the numbers; if you need a refresher, my recent post on growing momentum globally for gender quotas tells some of the story.

At SHAMBAUGH, our goal is to provide solutions rather than to dwell on why these challenges relating to women’s leadership aren’t progressing quickly enough. To that end, here is a summary of three top capabilities that women need to thrive as leaders, based on a recent McKinsey study of 250 high-ranking female executives and validated by SHAMBAUGH’s own research:

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Looking Back, and Ahead, at Women’s Leadership

As we prepare to bid adieu to 2014, let’s pause and reflect on some highlights we’ve seen in women’s leadership development this year:

  • There was a groundswell of dialogue based on an article in The Atlantic that revealed new findings on the link between success, confidence, and genetics. Authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman made the point that confidence can be acquired and the gender confidence gap—which leads to women considering themselves less ready for promotions and more likely to underestimate their abilities than men—can be closed. SHAMBAUGH’s research indicates that women can reprogram confidence levels by understanding the three pillars of confidence: brain science, belief systems, and targeted development.

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Not Confident Enough? Reprogram Your Confidence Level

If you feel that you could be more confident, there’s good news: you can make a choice to boost your level of confidence. In my last post, we discussed that having a certain degree of confidence can be one of several important factors in women’s success.

Studies have shown a link between genetics (the “confidence gene”) and an individual’s level of confidence. Since research has also shown that men are generally more confident than women, this can lead to self-limiting behaviors on the part of women, who may believe they are stuck at a “set point” of confidence.

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Confidence Matters, But How Much Do You Need?

How important is confidence to women’s career advancement? There has been growing interest in the media about how confidence may affect women’s professional success. In a recent article in The Atlantic, Katty Kay and Clair Shipman discuss a new finding regarding the root of confidence and its potential connection to competence, pointing out a link between confidence and a “host of genetic factors.” They also note that women generally have a lower level of confidence, which may limit them from asking for what they want, getting promoted faster, getting paid more, and reaching the senior ranks of leadership.

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Change Always Comes Bearing Gifts

I was reminded of this Price Pritchett saying when I recently spoke in Paris at a global business leaders conference. The seven hundred plus international attendees had come to learn the latest lessons on leadership and how to deal with the tumultuous changes being experienced by organizations across the globe.

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Smart Power – Do You Have It!

Smart Power! Have you heard the term? At the personal level, it means the ability to continuously learn new things and adapt to new situations in order to successfully navigate through complex change. It’s hard to pick up a current business magazine without reading that “new demands, changes in organizational business models and the emergence of a global market economy all call for companies to acquire a “new” knowledge that enables them to look at more innovative ways to grow, remain competitive and prosper.” Again, this means having Smart Power.But this time, they are referring to the capacity to create and sustain a broader learning environment within your team and your organization.

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