Overcoming the Biggest Challenges for Women in Leadership: Closing the Confidence Gap

Does this sound familiar? 

You have achieved a certain level of success as a leader. Colleagues respect you, and your team recognizes that you have the knowledge and skills they need to be successful, too. You get results. It is clear to everyone in your organization that you are a disciplined, proven leader.

And yet you still feel like an imposter.

Every day you find yourself doubting your decisions, second-guessing your choices, and feeling like you’ll never be enough.

It’s exhausting. And you’re not alone.

Women have made incredible strides in the workplace – we’re earning more college and graduate degrees than men and closing the gap in middle-management… but men are still getting paid more and promoted faster. (The Atlantic)

So what’s going on?

According to reporters and researchers Claire Shipman and Katty Kay:

“Compared with men, women don’t consider themselves as ready for promotions, they predict they’ll do worse on tests, and they generally underestimate their abilities.”

But when it comes to actual outcomes and results for men versus women? The quality of their actual performance doesn’t differ much. (The Atlantic

As women, we doubt ourselves. There’s a massive confidence gap that’s holding us back from top leadership positions and exhausting us on a daily basis. Yes, your role as a leader is complex and stressful – that’s true for any leader, male or female.

But when you actively step into your power and embrace your confidence, things do start to feel a bit easier. You free up your mental and creative energy to focus on problem-solving and helping your team instead of constantly worrying that you’re not enough or doing something wrong.

And because you know we are all about taking action around here – I’m sharing 4 simple, direct ways you can increase your confidence, decrease your self-doubt, and close that confidence gap.

How to Close the Confidence Gap

I work with my one-on-one leadership coaching clients to help them shift their perspective, change the narrative, reframe the stories they tell themselves, and declutter their minds so they can lead with less overwhelm and more balance, less stress, and more ease; less push and more receive.

Those changes and shifts take months to fully take hold, but you can follow these steps to start closing your own confidence gap today.

Step #1: Know Your Values

Make a “Top 5” list of the qualities you think it’s most important to have. You’ll feel more confident – and more authentically you – when you know you’re living and leading by your own set of values instead of trying to conform to someone else’s.

Step #2: Keep an Open Mind

Sticking to rigid thinking leaves you second-guessing every choice and decision. Approach your work, your team, and your colleagues with an open mind and see how much easier it is to appreciate good ideas, be more creative, and stop worrying so much about being “right.”

Step #3: Practice Boldness

A huge reason for the confidence gap? Men believe their ideas are great and women are timider about putting themselves out there. Start small – with speaking up in a meeting or starting a conversation – and practice increasing your bold actions each day. Will it feel uncomfortable? Probably. But keep practicing, and soon, you will feel comfortable standing up and standing out!

Step #4: Avoid Perfectionism

Done is better than perfect. So many times, we (women) second-guess our work and let perfectionism keep us from sharing an idea, solving a problem, or achieving a result. You are not naturally perfect (no one is), and the sooner you can let go of that need the sooner you will see your confidence bloom. 

Why Does Confidence Matter?

Doubting yourself and second-guessing your decisions is exhausting. It also ends up hurting your productivity, your results, and ultimately your career. 

If you want to be the most effective leader possible, you have to step into your confidence and lead from a place of feeling empowered, capable, and authentic. That is when you will really live up to your potential, see your true success, and help your team members grow. 

Feel like you need some help in this area? It can be difficult to overcome your self-doubt tendencies on your own. That’s where a coach can make a huge difference. I help women identify their own confidence gap and make major shifts in perspective, mindset, and beliefs in order to increase their confidence, ditch the stress and overwhelm, and lead with ease.

If that sounds like something you would like to experience, you can click here to check out my 1:1 services

And if you’re ready to tackle your confidence gap on your own, make sure you start with the steps above and systematically break down your doubt and fears. Your team, your organization, and your career will thank you!

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