The issue of women’s confidence at work has had so much discussion in the last few years.
For example an American report in 2014 said that when women start working for a company, although 43% aspire to be in senior management, only 27% think they have the confidence to do so. After 2 years employment this confidence figure drops to a lowly 13%.
Whereas men start at a similar 28% being confident but after 2 years of experience this rockets to 55% of them believing they have the confidence to reach a senior level job.
So what exactly is this mysterious confidence that reports suggest we lack as women and is it actually important?
Professor Cameron of the University of California who has researched the issue of confidence versus competence says
confident employees are often promoted over those who are more competent, as colleagues and employers mistake their confidence for talent
The result of this is that success is shown to be more closely related to confidence than to competence. This doesn’t mean that to succeed in their career women have to have big egos or stop being authentic. They do have to have self-belief and be able to demonstrate it to their managers though.
A woman’s style of confidence can be very different from a man’s. To ensure others recognise your self-belief, keep your focus on these 3 A’s of confidence building:
Understand your own style of confidence, the situations where it is strong and where it is lacking.
Be aware of how others demonstrate their confidence and which styles you like and could incorporate into your own behaviour.
Identify your core values. This is important as it will give you the confidence to know your own intuition and stick with it.
Recognise that your opinion is as valid and worthwhile as everyone else ’s. This will give you the courage to speak up in situations you may have found tricky
If you can be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses and yet focus on the things you do really well. It will help you maintain a positive and confident mindset
Rather than comparing yourself to others or judging others accept that the important thing is for you to be the best you can be
The most effective behaviour that confident people have is to accept that they make mistakes and they won’t always succeed, yet knowing that they still take action
Accept that others may not know about your successes and contributions. That sharing them in a proactive way is not boastful or bragging
Show yourself self-compassion and love, particularly at the times when things have not gone to plan.
Be grateful for all that you have got and achieved and you will feel calm and confident.
Appreciate your achievements. Don’t put your successes down to good luck or that anyone could have done it.
If you can be aware of and work on these 3 A’s of confidence building, you will be well on the way to demonstrating both your confidence and competence at work.
You may also be interested to know that my 1st book ‘Good Enough – A Career Woman’s Guide To Confidence, Courage and Credibility’ will be available for pre-order from March 15th.
You’ll get the opportunity to preorder it and to read about the strategies and mindset shifts you can apply to your career to ensure you have confidence, courage and credibility at work.
In the meantime, if you’d like to have a chat about your specific career or what confidence-building looks like for you. Then do book a free call in on my online calendar at www.speakwithjo.com
Friday the 8th March is International Women’s Day and the focus is #BalanceForBetter.
It’s all about building a gender-balanced working world.
Whether it’s a gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage …
Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
You might think this is just about getting more women in the boardroom and yes, it is partly. It is also about keeping gender parity in mind at work and challenging stereotypes and bias in day to day situations.
Progress has been made and there have been many positive changes across the world, such as:
32% of MPs elected in 2017 were women
In September 2018 the 30% Club achieved it’s goal in the UK of having 30% women on the boards of all FTSE100 companies
In America 102 women won House seats and 14 Senate Seats
Plus 9 Governors elected were women
Only 1 in 10 of senior leaders is a woman
Of managers 68% are male and only 32% female
Women are twice as likely to be mistaken for someone more junior
And twice as likely to need to provide more evidence of their competence at work
For every 100 men promoted from entry level roles only 79 women are
Women won only 15% of science prizes
And only 4% of top movies were directed by women
Confidence, society and childcare etc all affect these figures. However, women today are stepping up more but the system isn’t helping them.
In some organisations the unconscious bias, the stereotyping of leaders and even the ‘Old Boys Club’ still exist.
So what can you do?
Visit the International Women’s Day website here and have a look at their free resources
Set up or join a Lean In Circle at your organisation or in your industry
The subject of women’s confidence at work has been a hotly debated subject since the gender confidence gap was highlighted by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in their book The Confidence Code in 2015.
It revealed evidence that women appeared to have less confidence in their abilities at work than men and are more cautious than men at taking risks.
Since then, other experts have argued that the issue is more about the behaviours and culture at work than women’s confidence.
Whichever theory you agree with (or both). From my work with hundreds of clients I know there are certain situations and mindsets that affect women’s career confidence.
I’ve called them confidence traps as they’re easy to fall into and not as simple to climb out of.
Trap 1: Trying To Be Perfect
It had been thought that perfectionism drives excellent results and so can be helpful in your career. Recent studies have shown though that perfectionist workers don’t produce a higher standard of work. In fact, their need to achieve very high standards causes them to procrastinate and take much longer to deliver than their colleagues.
If you fall into the trap of pushing yourself to achieve unrealistic goals and find the stress and pressure it causes are affecting you. Then challenge yourself to keep to the 80:20 rule, with 80% done being good enough. Notice the uncomfortable feelings that come up for you but, don’t try to perfect your work.
Trap 2: Comparititis
This is the disease of comparing yourself to others. It’s okay to look at others and see the things they are particularly good at as long as you don’t use it to define you. Perhaps you have a colleague who talks such a good game that everyone thinks they are fantastic. Or a boss who knows exactly how to manage a client whereas you are tongue-tied. Even a peer whom others pay real attention to when they talk in meetings and you get talked over instead.
Be curious about how they are achieving this. What skills could you learn from them? Would you still be authentic if you were like them?
Comparing yourself to others is not comparing apples with apples, you only see the window dressing of their life and compare it to all of yours. Instead, focus on being the best version of yourself.
Trap 3: Believing Hard Work Wins
In today’s workplace culture it’s not enough to sit at your desk work hard and deliver really well. You will be seen as reliable but, to have your potential recognised you need to work on your visibility.
By visibility, I mean speaking up with your ideas and opinions, taking on new responsibilities, sharing your successes and marketing yourself. People are so busy with their own work that your achievements may go unnoticed and you can do that in a way that’s not boastful or bragging.
Trap 4: Believing Your Inner Critic
Your inner critic is that negative voice that pops up at just the wrong time to tell you “you are not good enough” or “why would they listen to you” or “you can’t do that”.
You can’t stop the voice but you can choose not to believe it. Because all that voice is, is a thought in your head like any other. It comes with an uncomfortable feeling which makes you think it’s real but if you challenge it. You’ll find it’s just a FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real
Do these traps resonate with you?
If yes, then do let me know how you deal with them.
If no, what are your particular confidence traps?
I’d love to have a chat with you about your confidence challenges and you can book a free call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
As you’re reading this you probably think you’re a people pleaser. If so, then you are one of the nicest and most helpful people around. People count on you to help out at work and with family and friends.
But … it can be a very unhealthy pattern of behaviour.
From my research and from the work I do with my clients. I’ve identified 3 common signs that a people pleaser might recognise.
You agree to everything people ask of you as you don’t want to upset them or appear unthoughtful
You’re anxious to say the ‘right’ thing in case you are wrong or judged negatively
People take advantage of your kind nature and you feel resentful, but you don’t speak up
If you recognise these signs then you’re probably looking for outside validation. Your sense of security and self-confidence are based on getting approval from others
You fear that you’ll be thought of as selfish, uncaring or lazy, if you don’t help others. But trying to be indispensable, reliable and even Superwomen creates a habit of saying yes.
Pleasing people can really affect your mental health. You might end up stressed and overloaded, which, can affect your sleep, make you anxious and physically ill.
What can you do to prevent yourself from reaching that stage?
Here are my top strategies:
You Have A Choice – people pleasers are so ingrained in the habit that they may not realise that NO is an option. Remind yourself regularly that no one has the right to make you say YES (not even your boss!)
Pause – Get into the habit of pausing before you react to a request. You could say “I’ll need to think it over and check my diary” or at least have a moment to check in with yourself as to whether the request is fair or doable
Practice Saying No – when you say no it can feel uncomfortable if you’re not used to it. Try these tips:
Start with saying thank you that they thought of you or asked you. This softens your No
Say why you’re saying No, but keep it concise and you don’t need to apologise
Add how you feel as it can help with understanding and make it harder to argue with e.g. I’m feeling overwhelmed or unwell
Make a suggestion as to who or what else they could try
Respect Your Boundaries – Work out what boundaries are important to you and stick to them e.g. Working hours, family time at the weekend, number or networking events, socialising once during the week
If You Say Yes Have Limits – decide if there is a certain amount of time, money or effort you’re prepared to commit? Or will you have to rearrange other priorities or commitments?
Don’t Be Taken In By Flattery – lines such as “you’re so much better at understanding this than me and you’ll do it quickly” or “the report you did last time was so helpful”. Are manipulative, so check in with yourself before you agree
Don’t Feel Guilty – when you change behaviour, especially one related to other’s opinion it can feel really uncomfortable. Remember, that you’re respecting your time and needs which is not selfish or self-centred
Think about what plans you have this week at work or at home. Can you identify any that you are doing to please others?
If so, reflect on whether it’s something you’ve chosen to do or something you’ve agreed to do to avoid saying no.
Being aware of when you’re pleasing others is the first step towards changing your habit.
If you’d like help in overcoming your people pleasing behaviour then book a free call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
Are you feeling stuck with no idea how to get out of your rut?
Then perhaps you need a push to step up and feel valued and recognised. Or some clarity on where you want to go in the long-term.
Whatever your reason is, having an objective expert support you can get you amazing results.
How do you know if you would benefit from a Career Coach?
Here are 8 signs you need some support in your career:
You’re Unhappy At Work – This might sound obvious but if you’re dissatisfied at work it’s clear something needs to change. The negative effect of not feeling valued or fulfilled at work spreads into other areas of your life until everything feels wrong. A report by Deloitte says that 80% of people don’t enjoy their job. If that’s you isn’t it time to make a change? It could be changing your mindset and behaviours at work or looking for a new position.
You’re Invisible Or Overlooked – In today’s workplace, it’s important to not only work hard and deliver well but also to be visible and demonstrate your confidence. If you feel your opinion and ideas are ignored and new opportunities pass you by, then you need a career coach to improve your impact.
You’d Like To Get A Pay Rise But Are Scared To Ask – Perhaps you feel that the responsibilities you have and the potential you’ve shown mean you deserve an increased reward. Knowing how to prepare for and have that conversation is very important. So don’t risk failing by talking to a career coach first.
You’re Not Progressing In Your Career – Do you feel your career advancement has stalled or there’s no opportunity to progress? You know you could do better but aren’t sure how to change. An expert Career Coach can help you get clarity on the barriers to your career taking off and help you develop strategies to get there.
Self-doubt And Lack Of confidence Are Holding You Back – We all have that inner critical voice that holds us back. Yours maybe telling you “Who are you to think you can do that role?” Or “Don’t speak up you’ll sound stupid”. Questioning your abilities is one of the most common factors to hold people back in their career. Take your first proactive step by talking to a Career Coach.
You Know This Job Isn’t Right But Don’t Know What Else To Do – Wanting to change career but having no idea what to do can be very frustrating. If your head is spinning with so many thoughts and ideas that you can’t move forward, then you need someone to help you get clarity. A Career Coach can use exercises and coaching skills to build a picture of your ideal career and then help you build a plan to achieve it.
You’ve Identified Your Dream Career But Not How to Get There – Does your ideal career feel unachievable? Then work with a Career Coach to develop the steps you need to take to get there. Or to incorporate your passion into your life in other ways.
You’re About To Start A New Job And Want To Make A Big Impact – The first few weeks when you start a new role are your honeymoon period. You have the opportunity to ask questions and identify the expectations of you. Don’t miss this valuable period by jumping in at the deep end and trying to make an immediate big impression. A Career Coach can talk you through the most effective way to start a new role.
Have you resonated with any of these signs?
Then have a serious think about working with a Career Coach. Investing in yourself at this point will reap huge rewards in the longer term.
My 14 year old daughter Holly was invited last year to be a member of the Youth Climbing Academy. She’s only been climbing for 18 months so this was an exciting and big surprise.
In the last few weeks she’s been attending competitions. Being the youngest in her age group and a lot less experienced has meant she’s usually towards the bottom of the results league.
As I’ve watched her struggling with the climbs which range from tricky to launches that not even Spiderman could make! I’ve prepared myself for the meltdowns, the tears and demands to leave or not return to training.
You might think I’m going to say that none of that happened, but to be realistic, of course it did.
We had tears over the blisters and cuts on her palms, the upset and disappointment at not being able to ‘top’ a wall after 5 tries.
The amazing thing was though, that after a few minutes of feeling down she bounced back and off she’d go again.
For 3 hours at a time she’d persevere and keep pushing herself. Watching others to see how to navigate a wall. Going out of her comfort zone to try harder and harder routes.
Over the past few weeks her determination has definitely paid off as she slowly moves up the results table.
What Was The Confidence Lesson I learnt From Her?
Apart from being very proud of the person she’s growing into, as any parent is. I saw how her determination, resilience and willingness to take risks enabled her to improve.
She didn’t worry what others thought or ruminate for long periods on what she was doing wrong or if she was good enough.
The times when she was frustrated and annoyed were short lived and fresh thinking would takeover, allowing her to go again.
As I sit writing this in the cafe of the climbing wall, for her third training session this week. I can’t help thinking that If we all learnt this confidence lesson. and started replicating these behaviours. Dropping the self-doubt and self-consciousness that holds us back. Then we could have the confidence to climb the walls in our lives or career that seem so scary now.
If you’d like some support in developing confidence and resilience in your career or life then do book a free Discovery Call with me on my online calendar at www.speakwithjo.com
We’ll discuss your current situation, the challenges you face and I’ll share some ideas on how you can move forward.
Firstly, Albie our Cocker Spaniel saw the postman before me as we left the house. His lead slipped out of my hand and he charged after the man with what sounded like an intention to kill. It was probably a bad day for the postman too!
Then I lost or had stolen, my purse complete with cash, cards, driving license etc at the supermarket (it’s still not been found).
As a result my stressful thinking meant I was late for parents evening and felt like a rubbish mother who was incapable of doing the simplest of things.
When like me, you’re having a bad day, doubting yourself or your insecurities are rampaging, It can be difficult to take action or make decisions.
We all get these low experiences, it’s part of human nature.
So how can you lift yourself back up and have the confidence to move forward?
Well, here are 4 strategies I recommend to help you:
Accept That It’s Okay To NOT Be Okay Sometimes. Tough, unfair things and mistakes do happen in life. There are times when we all feel grief, shame, guilt and failure. Accept that these are human emotions and that it’s okay to feel not okay, it’s okay to feel low and it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. Then treat yourself with compassion knowing that at some point these bad feelings will start to pass.
Take One Tiny Step Forward. You don’t have to make a huge change to start feeling more confident or to overcome your self-doubt. You just need to decide on one tiny positive step and that will begin the shift. Whether it’s writing down your positive achievements, deciding to stop talking negatively about yourself or asking for help. Just one small step at a time will build to a big change.
Keep Present In Today. Assuming that this bad day will mean the rest of your life will be rubbish is untrue and unhelpful. Looking further ahead than the current moment can feel scary and overwhelming when your mood is low. If you can focus on this day or this minute rather than what’s happened in the past or might happen in the future. You will allow your worry to reduce and your mind to clear.
Be Okay With Not Knowing What Others Think. If your self-doubt is driven by worrying about how others maybe judging you or why they’ve said or behaved in a certain way. Then you’re allowing others to control how you feel. Instead accept that you’ll never know exactly what anyone else is thinking and the confident thing to do is assume their thoughts are positive.
I hope you’re having a good day and to improve mine I’d really appreciate you sharing this blog on social media using the buttons below.
Do you like to reflect and think through an opinion before giving it?
Do you feel uncomfortable speaking up in work meetings as you don’t want the focus on you?
These are characteristics of someone who is introverted or shy, but they don’t stop you being a very successful leader.
You may feel nervous in front of a large team meeting or have to push yourself into dealing with a conflict situation, but you’ve been given your leadership role for a reason.
It might be that you really know your stuff, that you collaborate really well or manage projects successfully. Don’t let the fact your natural personality is different from others hold you back.
What Strategies Can Help You Demonstrate Your Leadership Abilities?
Take Time Out – There are times when you’ll need to show you have the passion and enthusiasm to lead a team. This might require you to turn up the dial of your energy and personality so, make sure you have time before and after to recharge by being alone
Have 1:1 Meetings – Being an introverted or shy personality means you’re more suited to individual meetings where you can build good rapport. Your comfortable relationship with each team member will then carry over into larger team meetings
Get a mentor or role model – In many organisations the ‘loud and proud’ leadership style is most prevalent but not necessarily the best. Look out for the quieter confidence of some leaders and use them as a role model or mentor
Play To Your Strengths – Introverts and people who are shy come with other strengths to add to a team, such as; self-awareness, collaboration and creative thinking. Use your strengths to demonstrate your leadership style
Be Authentic – These suggestions don’t mean you shouldn’t speak up or be assertive and directive. Just do them in your own style rather than trying to fake the traditional stereotype of a leader.
The tradition of making new year resolutions has a well documented history. For example the Babylonians made promises at the start of the year to their gods to pay their debts and return borrowed items.
Today 40 to 50% of us still make them. What I find interesting is that any new resolutions made at the start of the year are 10 times more likely to be achieved than those made at other times of the year.
What are you planning to change this year?
The most common promises that are made at new year are:
To donate to charities more often
Try to become more assertive
Strive to be more environmentally responsible
Improve physical well-being: eat healthy food, lose eight, exercise more, eat better, drink less alcohol, quit smoking, get rid of old bad habits
Improve mental well-being: think positive, laugh more often, enjoy life
Progress career: perform better at current job, get a better job
The most common goals that my clients have are:
Stop worrying what others think
Improve visibility and recognition in their career
Believe in their abilities
Not be held back by self-doubts
Deal with conflict and difficult relationships
Do any of those resonate with you?
I’m a big fan of setting goals and personal development but, do remember that although they’ll give you a short term buzz. They won’t give you the happiness, fulfilment and contentment that you maybe expecting.
Those feelings are already inside you and you don’t need to find anything on the outside to connect with them. Then improving yourself feels light hearted and enjoyable.
I have my own goals around my fitness and business growth this year and know that whatever happens with those goals I’m still okay as the SAME ME!
If one of your goals this year is about improving your confidence in your career or your life and you’d like support to ensure you can achieve your results then do get in touch for a free Discovery Call with me by email or book a call at www.speakwithjo.com
My fabulous clients put in real commitment to make huge changes in their careers and lives and as a result achieve amazing results.
Today I wanted to share with you (with her permission) a client’s story which I find inspiring and I’m sure you will too.
Amanda is a senior manager in the NHS, working in 2 different roles along with managing family life.
Like many of us she had achieved career success but still expected herself to be better, to achieve even more and not to struggle with worry or stress.
“I was overwhelmed by work pressure and feeling out of control. I felt I was failing in one of my jobs, and was trying to decide if I should just leave, and though happy in the other role spent many out of hours time worrying about the work.
I came to coaching with an aim to decide whether to leave one job, and ended with a whole new perspective.
Jo gave me increased confidence but more importantly my sense of self. She helped me practice kindness to myself when things were tough which meant I approached the challenges calmly and objectively and performed more effectively.
She also helped me think more clearly about what I want. We worked together to help me to go after my long term goals and I achieved such change in the 3 months. I’m not leaving either job immediately but am making plans for a new and exciting project in research.
Its been 3 months since I finished the programme and I continue to see the results daily. I am more confident and put myself in more challenging situations, but also have stopped needing to be ‘perfect’ and ask for help when I need it.
Because of Jo I am presenting at my professional conference, I have just had my appraisal and got ‘excellent’ across all areas, and I am driving change.
Most importantly my anxiety around work is considerably reduced, my work life balance is better because I don’t spend time out of work worrying and I’m taking better care of myself
I found the programme structure really constructive – Jo helped me evaluate the areas I wanted to change and made gradual steps over the three months towards this.
I found the weekly calls gave me a chance to reflect and review work, and with Jo I was able to see my work behaviours more clearly – the ones that were useful and the ones that were not!
It helped setting specific goals, but the programme was flexible enough to adapt to change and different priorities along the way.
Three words that describes Jo’s coaching style: Empathetic, proactive, creative.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Jo to any woman who wants to make change at work. Be it simply making work more enjoyable or if you want to go after big dreams.
I am in no doubt I wouldn’t have made such progress this year without Jo’s coaching.”
A fabulous story I’m sure you’ll agree – it’s amazing how a few key insights into your career and mindset can change everything in such a short time.
If you’d like to make big change in your career mindset and performance or work/life balance do get in touch. You can book a free call at www.speakwithjo.com