- Posted by Janet Zaretsky
- On January 31, 2017
- 0 Comments
It is well known that woman suffer from a lack of confidence when compared to men. Often, we are in the gap. Interesting that women deal with a lack of confidence given the facts of how competent they are. Confidence, not competence is a better indicator of career success.
Consider these findings in research conducted by by Zenger Folkman; Women rated better than men on 12 out of 16 competencies. These included “takes initiative,” “drives for results” and “stretches for results,” all traditional measures of effective leadership. They also included every one of the more human competencies — “practices self-development,” “develops others,” “motivates and inspires others,” “builds relationships” and “collaboration and teamwork.” These leadership qualities are demanded in today’s interdependent global economy. The study also rated female leaders equally with men in terms of solving problems and analyzing issues. The only competencies in which men rated higher than women were technical expertise, innovation and a strategic perspective about the outside world and other groups.
In another study by Catalyst found that having women in top management let to better financial performance than companies without women in their top management. Which begs the question, why are women so underrepresented in the upper management of companies worldwide?
Perhaps it is all related to confidence and the gender confidence gap. Why are women lacking in confidence. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of The Confidence Code discovered that there IS a genetic component to having confidence or not, however, they also discovered that the nurture part of the puzzle is more influential in having and demonstrating confidence.
Many of us are self-saboteurs when it comes to our own confidence. We have thinking and acting and speaking habits that actually undermine our own confidence. I invite you to consider what you might be doing that is undermining your confidence.
Let’s look at some of the things you might be doing that are sabotaging behaviors. Take, for example, speaking up in meetings or even in social situations where there are more men than women. Do you hold back, waiting to be 100% sure of what you are saying is correct or do you jump in to the conversation and take the risk of being wrong or having someone question you. Do you let others take credit for your ideas? Do you allow others to talk over you, interrupt you and shrink back and not get your voice heard? Are you stepping up to take on roles, positions and jobs that you are not 100% sure you can do? (Well researched fact is that men will raise their hands when they are 60% sure compared to women who wait till they are 100% sure!) When you speak, do you speak with authority or do you have a raised voice lilt as if you are questioning what you are saying? Do you fight or shrink back with men or with other women? Do you worry or ruminate about what to say or what you said? Are you ‘nice’, stepping over or holding back in what there is to say for fear of not being liked… or worse, being called bossy or bitchy? Are you asking for what you deserve financially? Are you clear about your worth and the value of your contribution?
This is not a comprehensive list but begins to have you question whether you are in the confidence gender gap. What can you do? Fake it till you make it? Maybe. Or perhaps there are ways you can get yourself aware of your particular habits and actions that undermine your confidence and change them.
Becoming aware and then taking new actions will begin to close the gap. I know it is not comfortable to jump in while being afraid, however, I have found with numerous women, once you do it—- you discover you confidence skyrockets. The first time is challenging, and then it gets easier. I invite you to take one new, unfamiliar, and scary action and close that gap!
P.S. Take the Confidence Killers Quiz and find out what you can do to close the gap for yourself!