Women belong in leadership. In our evolving society, we need women’s rational, collaborative voice to ensure that society continues into the future. But Leadership can be more challenging for women, apart from the historical gender bias and the fact that we weren’t welcome at the table, we have to battle the realities of raising children and performing at a high level in a persistent masculine world. One thing is that we need to stand up and be more confident of our abilities to be even considered for a seat at the table.
Know Your Skills & Strengths
Confidence comes from a combination of knowledge, self-awareness, and self-belief. We first need to have the skills and the knowledge to do a role, if we don’t have the skills we will continuously doubt ourselves. Stay updated on industry trends, enhance your skills, and seek out opportunities for professional development. The more knowledge you acquire, the more confident you’ll feel navigating complex situations.
If you have the skills the next step is to identify and acknowledge your strengths. What unique skills and qualities do you bring to the table? Understanding your capabilities allows you to cultivate your expertise and guide others through your experiences.
Establish a Supportive Network
Surround yourself with a supportive network. Mentors, sponsors, coaches, or even friends who uplift and inspire you. A support system can buffer you from unnecessary doubt and self-judgment. It can provide you with a sounding board, and valuable feedback on subjects you might be too close to. Knowing that others believe in your capabilities can boost your confidence during challenging times.
Have a Positive Mindset
Human beings tend to focus on the negative, to hone in on mistakes, missed opportunities, or negative feedback. We often forget to acknowledge the positive aspects of the leadership journey. We need to celebrate success, no matter how small. Reflecting at least every week on what went well and what could be improved. Thankfully we live in a world that recognises the power of failure also. We now know we learn more from failure than success, so if we can also celebrate our failures and see them as opportunities to learn and grow, we will progress faster. A positive mindset will enhance your confidence and make a positive impression on those around you.
Be an Effective Communicator
Communication is one of the top leadership skills. Women in leadership often fail to convey their ideas with clarity and conviction. Being well prepared can help this. The more we are prepared for a meeting, a presentation, or any formal interaction the more we will be able to speak with confidence and conviction. Pay attention to your body language to make sure your body aligns with the message you want to convey. Adopting power poses before a meeting can help to make you feel more confident and in control.
Dress for Success
While much of your confidence will come from your mental mindset and your knowledge and skills, the way you dress can impact the way you feel, helping you feel more sure of yourself. If you are in a position of leadership you may not have too much time to think about how you dress therefore creating a capsule wardrobe can help solve that problem. Having a few outfits ready to go that you feel confident and comfortable in can eliminate any stress from “What will I wear today?” It’s also important to dress for the position you want rather than the position you have. While a lot of industries are more casual and you may feel comfortable in your jeans and runners, ask yourself if you had the position you aspire to, how would you dress then? It’s always important to act as if you already are, the person you aspire to be.
Becoming a more confident woman in leadership is a journey of self-discovery and growth. You can step into your power and inspire those around you by acknowledging your skills and strengths, working on your mental strength and resilience, and acting as if you already are the strong leader you know you can be.