Woman up!

If you don’t believe in yourself, then why should anyone else?

There are two aspects to confidence that are crucial to women in management – inner and outer confidence.

Inner confidence is based on building a set of strong self beliefs, a sense of self-efficacy and self-assurance of your own competence and capabilities.

Self-efficacy is an individual’s beliefs about what they are capable of doing and can influence career choices. A positive sense of self-efficacy is the belief that you yourself have the personal capabilities and resources to meet the demands of tasks or situations you face. It is often described as the belief that you can make things happen and is aligned to the concept of an inner locus of control – that you, rather than external events, are the controlling force in your own life.

Woman up


'We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.'

Outer confidence is about how you portray that self-assuredness to the external world – how you behave, how you communicate, how you are perceived by others.

Areas to consider will be how assertively you speak, how your body language speaks to others and how you act within the workplace environment.

A lack of self-confidence and self-belief is considered a key reason why women feel they may not be able to step into more senior roles and even when women have already achieved career success, personal self-confidence often remains an issue for many.  Of course, the workplace environment in which you operate may not be nurturing your sense of confidence and that is an additional factor to consider.

Woman upYou may have heard the well-told story that women often only apply for roles for which they feel they fulfil 100% of the criteria in comparison with men who will apply even if they feel they fulfil only 60%.

Harvard Business Review suggests that it may only not be a lack of self-confidence causing this approach, but also a combination of other factors – that women tend to assume there are rules to follow and that you shouldn’t apply without the required qualifications or experience; a fear of failure if you’re not even considered for a role; maybe even a naivety that roles are only ever appointed on merit (ignoring the role of advocacy and networking). Whatever – the need to be sufficiently self-confident to tackle all these areas requires a solid foundation of self-esteem.

Individuals with positive self-esteem have stronger feelings of their own confidence, and a more positive self-image and expectation of success. It also makes it easier to cast off any negative thoughts or limiting beliefs before they have a chance to infiltrate thinking.

Confidence in yourself is a crucial foundation for women in management within the corporate world – and coaching around confidence and self-esteem remains vital for most women, no matter how senior they are.