You Have a Right to a Seat at the Table

As a woman, how do you get to a position of leadership? A position of influence? A position to make a difference? It’s by having self-confidence. It’s the confidence to know that you can do it – that you are a strong and capable woman. It’s by taking that seat at the table right along with your male colleagues

As Sheryl Sandberg writes in her wonderful book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, 2013, we as women unconsciously but regularly hold ourselves back from sitting at the table.

As women, we can learn a lot from men about how to embrace our own successes. For example, research shows that when men are asked about how they achieved their various successes, they give credit to themselves – to their own innate qualities, skills and yes, their potential. It’s not in an egotistical way (no one likes that) but men don’t usually minimize or excuse their abilities but rather give themselves credit where credit is due.

Now, when a woman is asked about her success, what does she say? You will hear them (or even yourself) attribute their success to external factors like “I couldn’t have done it without other people’s help” or “I had a good mentor” or the worse for self-confidence . . . “I just got lucky”.

We constantly underestimate ourselves! Does that sound familiar? And the research verifies what we as women have suspected for a long time . . . we judge our performance worse than it actually is (men judge themselves slightly better) and when we are in front of other people, we are even more critical.

Changing this kind of self-talk is long overdue – especially as we raising our talented young daughters. We truly need the best of everyone – men and women of all ages – and, yes, ourselves as well!

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