For female workers the question of family or career has always seemed a bit black and white. There was never an in between or a society that felt as though it accepted working mothers.
Albeit slowly, but we are starting to see this change. With the rise of movements such as #metoo and the gender pay gap scandal, society is becoming more aware of the issues female workers are facing and the challenges they still face. Now there are more opportunities than ever before for women to step into leadership roles.
Thanks in part to new UK laws around gender diversity, more businesses than ever are creating opportunities for women to step into leadership roles. As a woman, on one hand, you are thrilled to be recognised for your leadership skills, but on the other you can’t help but wonder at times whether you are deserving of a seat at the table. If you feel like this, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, one in three female professionals have admitted to experiencing Imposter Syndrome – a term coined for those who often doubt their own achievements.
So, how do you move beyond those feelings of uncertainty, of doubt? Well, it’s actually easier than you think. Some people may naturally have more confidence, but you’d be surprised how many ways you can train yourself toward being a more confident business leader.
Lynn Morrison, the Marketing Director for Opus Energy, has first hand experience of stepping up into a board role and shared with us some tips for fellow female workers who have this same ambition.
1. Find your tribe
Spending time with people in your industry, or just in the same place career-wise, can be a great confidence booster. Just ask any new parent who has joined a parenting group – sharing successes and crowd-sourcing ideas on overcoming challenges is incredibly valuable.
2. Acknowledge good work when you see it
Behind every great executive is a strong team, so it is important to recognise them for the role they play in your success. Praising your employees gives them a boost in both confidence and morale, which in turn leads to higher productivity.
3. Recognise your own good work, not just your employees’
How often do you downplay a compliment? Are you doing the same thing in the workplace? Take your well-deserved credit when projects go right, and don’t hesitate to highlight your successes both in private and in the boardroom.
4. Fake it ’til you make it
No one needs to know that you’re doubting yourself. In fact, most people will assume that you know what you’re doing and are making conscious choices for things to happen a certain way. Act the part, pretend you are confident, and soon you’ll notice that it’s not that much different from actually being confident.
5. Your knowledge is your power
Most likely you’ve spent years building up your experience and expertise, earning the credentials needed for a leadership role. Pull upon your knowledge and don’t be afraid to share your opinion. Providing fact-based recommendations is a great way to earn the respect of your peers and remind yourself of your own skillset at the same time.
6. View your femininity as a strength, rather than a weakness
Women have innate abilities to give care, it is what makes us great mothers. Those same skills are equally useful in the business world. Pull upon your natural abilities to rally colleagues around a common purpose and to champion initiatives which show employees that you care. Purpose-led businesses see greater sustainable growth and success.
7. Think positive
It may seem trite, but the power of positive thinking is surprisingly effective. As a leader, colleagues will look to you for an indication of how things are going. Showing confidence in your own abilities and in those of your team can be just the inspiration people need to get big projects over the line.
8. Look to leaders who inspire
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is take a page from someone else’s book. Literally. Read the books and blogs of thought leaders who are in the business of making you a better business woman. Check out this list of essential business books for starters.
For more business tips, guidance and information, visit www.brighterbusiness.co.uk.