I’ve been a CMW — a “chief motivator for women” — for most of my life.
From helping to raise my kid sister to raising my four daughters and running a company of predominantly female employees, I’ve learned that a confident woman is a powerhouse for success.
Confidence is key to being a successful businesswoman, but all too often, women lack the confidence they need to reach their full potential. The best way to instill confidence is by providing an environment where women are constantly reminded of their talent and worth.
Men Are More Confident Than Women
Studies show that women don’t have as much confidence as men. Katty Kay and Claire Shipman describe this phenomenon in their book, “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance — What Women Should Know.”
According to the book, women only pursue opportunities when they have 100 percent of the skills needed, while men pursue opportunities when they have just 60 percent.
Women are missing opportunities because they’re not participating. They’re not putting themselves out there. But with more confidence, women could achieve more by taking chances.
Be Confident to Gain Respect
When I was just 24, I learned my own lesson in confidence. I was promoted to manager of the Macy’s men’s department, which consisted of a sales team of middle-aged, mostly traditional men. I was inexperienced and unprepared for the job, but my confidence helped me gain the respect of my co-workers, and the department thrived.
I learned at an early age that the confidence I exude directly affects the respect I receive from others. I’ve also learned that a confident woman is:
- Determined: She is an avid goal setter with high standards for herself.
- Not intimidated: She is not afraid to take risks, even after failure.
- Self-reliant: She is comfortable taking initiative and thinking for herself.
- Non-competitive with males: She never allows male counterparts to distract her.
My development director, Justine, is a great example of a confident woman. Since my company’s beginning, Justine has stood by my side, and I’ve watched her use these characteristics to grow into an accomplished, motivated, charismatic leader and a role model for her female peers.
Build an Environment for Confidence
Without fail, when given the right environment and opportunities, women are capable of tremendous success.
The right environment for instilling confidence fosters:
- Empowerment: When assigning a project to an employee, give guidance as needed, but ultimately allow her to take the lead.
- Teamwork: Ask your employees to collectively brainstorm ways to reach a certain goal. This allows for diversity and an opportunity to learn from one another.
- Value: Show your employees how much they’re valued by rewarding them for a job well done. Simple rewards may include recognizing an employee’s achievement at a team meeting or tweeting about her accomplishment.
- Delegation: Ask an employee to help you prepare for an important meeting or an article that needs to be written. Utilize her expertise wherever possible.
- Positive role modeling: Lead by example. Exude optimism, problem-solving skills, and communication skills. Invite employees to attend meetings with you or sit in on an important phone call so they can see you in action.
Maybe you’re looking to hire a female employee, or maybe you already have the perfect team right under your nose. Either way, practicing these strategies will help you build a powerful team of risk-taking, high-achieving, and unstoppable women.
About the Author
Hellen Barbara is the founder and president of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding and analytics platform for the literary world. She presently serves on the board of directors for the Gavin’s Got Heart Foundation, is a member of the Exceptional Women in Publishing organization, and is a Power Circle member of 85 Broads.