Many women are competent but lack confidence. Develop your confidence and as well as your competence because both are critical elements of success. Competence alone isn’t enough. Yes, you must know what you’re doing and how to delegate and lead. But, you also must be proud of your work and of yourself.
Develop Your Confidence
You need to develop your confidence and competence, yet women in the workforce often disconnect them. For instance, women unwittingly undermine themselves when they attribute their good performance to chance. If people praise you, thank them, and don’t say, “Oh, no, I just got lucky.” Develop your confidence by combining it with competence, learn and practice the 4R’s of success–
Effective networking can develop your confidence and your career options, and nurturing strong relationships can help you build your personal brand. Establish mutually beneficial power relationships with team members who challenge you, managers who push you, peers who support and encourage you, and anyone you trust, to be honest with you.
Basically, networking has three elements– information, power, and opportunity. Information is at the core of networking. Unlike socializing, networking includes collecting and sharing information. Power refers to the impetus and resources that strong relationships can provide. Opportunity means seeking ways to grow and to showcase your work, instead of expecting others automatically to notice your efforts and promote you. Your networking skills will shift during your career as your situation changes. Try to keep the right balance.
Networking requires having conversations with a variety of people. Going to the same events and sitting with familiar people is socializing, not networking. If you don’t try new experiences and meet new people, you will damage your career.
One of your most important working relationships is how you see yourself. Believe in yourself. Work to develop your executive presence– the sum of your gravitas, communication, and appearance. Gravitas is your sense of authority and innate leadership. Communication involves not just what you say, but how you say it. Develop your public speaking skills. For example, if you’re giving a presentation and you sound as if you’re asking questions when you’re actually making a statement, you will seem uncertain. Envision each sentence you speak with a period at the end. Declarative statements convey confidence. Watch your tone of voice and pitch. Many people find high-pitched voices to be grating. Avoid apologizing unnecessarily.
Dress a level up from your current position. Act prepared for the job you want. Observe what other women in your workplace wear, and put your personal spin on it. Problematic fashion issues include clothing that is too tight or too loose, visible bra straps or panty lines, revealing clothes, heels that are too dressy, and inappropriate hairstyles or hair color. Realize that you’re never truly off the clock at business-related social events, so watch your demeanor at after-hours parties with your co-workers and supervisors.
People don’t just hand you respect and a great reputation. You have to earn them. Your reputation and personal brand are synonymous. Both reflect your executive leadership presence. While some people are aware of their reputations, others have no clue.
Your reputation– good or bad– affects how others perceive you and can boost or undermine your future opportunities. Professionals who are just starting their careers or who are at a junior level may lack confidence. As their experience builds, so does their confidence.
You are responsible for building yourself up from the inside out. As you advance, be aware that real leaders find solutions to problems. Leaders need to be able, to tell the truth diplomatically. Otherwise, they’ll be seen as bullies who will develop or already have bad reputations. Courageous leaders give their colleagues information they need, even if they don’t want to hear it.
To develop your confidence, make a good first impression with direct eye contact and a firm handshake. Be true to your convictions. Communicate effectively. Give and receive in equal measure, and be flexible and encouraging toward others. Building your brand takes conscious and unconscious thought, but unconscious work requires more effort. For instance, you may be great at your job, but if you’re unconsciously too negative, others won’t want to work with you. However, being upbeat and positive but not working hard will also undermine your career.
Relationships and reputation can only get you so far. You must deliver results to take your career to the next level. People expect to get what they pay for– a professional product or service delivered on time and within the planned budget.
Keep these tips in mind when doing your job. Being early is great, but not if your workmanship is shoddy. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Quality is more important than quantity. Avoid blaming others for your shortcomings. If you lack certain skills, hire people to complement your abilities. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. While you may be tempted to say yes to everything, set boundaries based on what you can accomplish within a certain time frame. If you can’t meet a deadline, ask for an extension or more resources. If you don’t perform as expected and produce results, you’ll damage your reputation.
Always evaluate whether it’s better for your career to stay with your current organization or to move on. Every office has politics. Women, in particular, risk getting caught up in workplace drama instead of knowing how to disengage and say no. Consider leaving your current organization if you’re not growing or learning, if you have no upward mobility, if your industry is stagnant, or if you aren’t fairly compensated or rewarded with freedom or challenging projects.
Resilient people don’t give up, blame others, throw tantrums, or bad-mouth previous employers in person or online. Being resilient means dealing with change and learning to bounce back from setbacks rather than letting them consume you. Don’t let roadblocks or fear stop you. Being a leader requires stamina. Maintain your energy and strength by focusing on your health and wellness, exercising, choosing your friends wisely, and having fun. Your career trajectory is up to you. Develop your confidence and positively seize ownership of your professional life.