Are you a confident woman? These three questions will tell you for sure and the following suggestions will help you develop confidence. Furthermore for both professional and personal success, develop confidence.
Women are led to believe that being shy and quiet is feminine and desirable. As a result, American culture rails against competent and confident women. When we speak up or state our views emphatically, swift criticism communicates negativity. Yet in order to be successful, women must speak up.
Studies show that self-confidence indicates a willingness to succeed and create valuable work and personal relationships. “Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence.”
How do you know if you are a confident woman?
- Assess your language. Do you use qualifiers when stating your opinion or offering an idea? Those qualifiers include “maybe”, “I’m not sure”, “this may not work”, or “it may not make sense”. Language matters, as a result prepare and state your case simply with self-assurance.
- Does the sound of your voice raise at the end of sentences? Record and listen to yourself speaking or in conversation. Your cadence can indicate insecurity. Cadence is the rhythm or flow of the sound you produce. Does your voice tone raise at the end of a sentence as if you are asking a question? This indicates that you don’t feel confident in what you say. You can change that style by practicing to change the habit of always going up at the end of a sentence.
- Are you afraid to speak up and offer input at meetings? Learn to speak up with input that is both relevant and on topic. Ask for a meeting agenda and learn the purpose of the meeting. Develop an idea or input that is solution focused. Practice in a smaller group of colleagues and ask for their feedback.
Enhance your self-confidence with these strategies. First, stop comparing yourself to men. Understand that men have a leg-up in the corporate world because like attracts like. Comparison to men lowers your self-confidence. In her groundbreaking book “In a Different Voice” Carol Gilligan defined one fundamental difference between men and women. They develop differently. Individuals function in relationship to others. When women compare themselves to men, they do not compare favorably.
- Caring about relationships is fundamental to a woman’s development. Monitor how you interact at work and recognize this fundamental difference. The idea that the “good woman” is responsive to the needs of others and not her own needs creates a fundamental dilemma for women. The ethic of selflessness (not being selfish) creates a situation where women don’t speak up for themselves. Fundamentally, female scholars posit that men view the world from a position of separateness while women view the world through connectedness. This fundamental difference can skew women’s self-evaluation and hinder self-confidence.
- Make a list of the ways this belief may affect the way you interact at work. Because self–examination develops a thought process that allows you understand, it helps you change the way you interact at work. After you make the list choose how you want to change those beliefs or self-perceptions. Next, ask yourself how changing that perception can increase your self-confidence.
- Do you have a place where you can get feedback? Create a lunch and learn group where you can discuss these issues and practice being effective at work. You can even practice your language skills in this group.
- Confident women have colleagues at work, not “best friends”. As a result, monitor your disclosures at work even to your work friends. It is best to save personal vulnerability sharing for relationships that are not work related. Personal struggles can undermine your self-confidence at work.
- Developing a belief in your competence will enhance self-confidence. Men are more likely to believe in themselves based on their separateness viewpoint. Your competence and self-confidences don’t depend on a false comparison to men. Your ideas merit consideration equally with those of your male counterparts. Owning your competence enhances self-esteem and confidence in your value as a fully participating team member at work.
In conclusion, the journey to self-confidence takes time and energy. Additionally, recognize your value and assess your self worth as it relates to your skills and talents. Recent revelations about sexual harassment, highlight the fact that women need to speak up and speak out. Consequently, improving self-confidence will pay dividends in the future of women at work.
Pat Magerkurth is a coach with over 40 years of experience in the work place. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation to discover how you can improve your self-confidence at work and in your relationships.