Article: Leadership & Confidence… Many Women Are Competent, But Lack Confidence
By: Natalie R. Manor
As a business coach, I’ve often encountered female executives with confidence problems. Ellen is a typical example. One MBA, 8 years of experience as a Division Manager and 4 departments reporting to her, Ellen still was not sure that she was an effective leader. No matter the amount of feedback she received or the ratings on her performance review – which were good – she still believed that she was missing the “excellence in leadership” by a
To take a closer look at her talents, she completed the classic leadership and communication assessment to help produce a current a snapshot of her skills. The results provided terrific evidence that Ellen was a growing and competent leader. A talented leader who routinely inspired her staff to completion, admired productivity and continuous results.
I met with Ellen at her office to discuss her assessment and the results. Although she had heard positive feedback about her work during her career, she was loath to accept the evidence of her real leadership competence.
As her coach, I wanted to make sure that this time she could not deflect the obvious truth of her talents, but I did not know how to support her to really understand and believe her strengths. Ellen wanted to believe that she was competent.
Hmmm, competence vs. confidence.
I’ve run into this so many times with emerging women leaders—women so deeply competent in their skills and so dearly lacking confidence in them.
Realize that you are an effective leader!
So I asked Ellen a series of questions:
- Have you ever been unprepared for an important business event?
- Did you ever receive feedback that the information you researched was incorrect or not valid?
- Have you been invited to participate on panels of experts in your subject matter area?
- Were you ever considered for an award?
- Have you mentored up-and-coming managers and leaders without being asked to do so?
- Are you sought out as a key contributor to teams
Ellen was truly astonished at her answers – that in fact she is considered a key contributor and leader in every area of
Our conversation then got serious about leadership, excellence, perfection and self-confidence.
I pointed out that if I presented her with a list of her own accomplishments and skills that she would be extremely impressed with the leader she was reading about. So what was her problem? Why did she doubt her own abilities?
At some point, we all have to take a look at our skills and strengths and believe them. We have worked so very hard to be prepared for meetings; develop workable projects that are on time and on budget; develop emerging leaders; provide creative and profitable insights for business building; worked long hours to meet deadlines. We must acknowledge ourselves and give ourselves the gift of confidence.
Your Confidence Brings Trust and Respect from Others.
Confidence is not arrogance. It is not ego centered. It is healthy. It is a sweet elixir that we deserve based on perseverance and commitment.
Observe a confident women. Listen to her. She how she moves and listens to you and others. Be attentive to her style of speaking and thoughtfulness. You might be surprised how easily you trust her and respect her.
Self-confidence in a leader many times creates trust and respect. It is understanding that the work you have produced is good – and that you’re willing to hear feedback about the worth of the work and you’ll acknowledge the feedback.
The October 2007 Fortune magazine contains a list of the “50 Most Powerful Women.” I would say that this issue highlights the richest aspects of women growing our world: powerful women are both confident and competent…and they know it!
Ellen now routinely takes time to acknowledge herself at her work. She is much more relaxed with herself and her skills. And she is delighted that her new self-confidence is providing a platform for her to be even more creative within
Copyright © by Natalie Manor. All Rights Reserved.
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