Women: Is your self-confidence holding you back?

5 Disturbing Facts about Women and the Leadership Pipeline

Jennifer Lawrence gave in too early in negotiating her pay because she wanted to be 'nice'

  1. According to the TedTalk phenomenon, Professor Amy Cuddy, women feel chronically less powerful than men.
  2. Women are not making it through the corporate pipeline, despite representing roughly half the workforce at entry level in professional posts.
  3. In Ireland, women are paid on average 14 per cent less than men and the pay difference is widening!
  4. The Old Boys Club Culture is cited as the biggest barrier for Irish senior professional women (based on WOW Survey 2017).
  5. What is holding women back? According to WOW Survey, confidence is the single most important ingredient for women to realise their full potential within organisations.

This week I ran a workshop for some of Ireland’s leading marketing and salespeople in the tourism sector.  While the overall programme was about helping companies ‘’Get Brexit Ready”, I included a session on the importance of confidence when building relationships with international buyers. As we break into new markets in a post Brexit landscape, we need to ratchet up our skills in international negotiations.

When entering any negotiation process, self belief is the magic ingredient you need to add to your sales pitch. Our tone of voice and body language are more revealing than any well polished sales pitch so we really do need to believe in ourselves and our story. For example, Oscar winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence, admits that she gave away millions when it came to negotiating her fee for a film because she didn’t want to appear “difficult”.

So here are some tips to help you become your own agent of change:

Confront your biases – make sure you are not unconsciously holding yourself back. Take a Bias Test to see if you are your own biggest ‘heckler’.

Build your confidence – check out Amy Cuddy’s 2 minute Power Poses that will help you build your sense of personal power.

Think Big! You can win that deal! You can land that job! Get a plan together.

Build your Circle of Influence – start networking and building on your professional relationships.

Stay strong – you will need grit and determination to bounce back from setbacks.

Remember success correlates as much with confidence as competence so hang out with positive people.

Sources: #WomanUp, www.wowempowering.ie, McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2017

Cariona Neary works with executive and senior leader teams to improve performance in customer experience and sales. She is co-author of ‘Coaching Champions – How to get the Absolute Best from your Sales Team’. Her flagship programme is ‘How to Build your Route to Market in a Post Brexit World’.