By: Silvica Rosca
Earlier this year, I read a shocking statistic. It said women outperformed men on 15 of 19 leadership traits necessary for the 21st century. And yet, women account for only 4% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
That was so jarring. I had to dig deeper!
I found out that Routledge and LeaderShape Global were behind this study. They created a matrix of 19 characteristics of leadership and then analyzed 7 years worth of performance reviews.
And this is the gold! Women outperformed men on 15 of the 19 characteristics!
That’s right! As rated by their bosses, peers, and direct reports, women better demonstrate critical leadership qualities than their male counterparts!
So why do we not have more female leaders? There are many articles and studies that go into the various complexities in answering that question. This study showed another explanation.
One area in which men significantly outperform women is:
Women significantly undervalue their accomplishments, and for various reasons, suffer from the impostor syndrome and lack confidence.
How can we fix this? How can we get women to FEEL like they belong at the table? How can we get women to fully understand that they ARE qualified?
Through consistent, personal development work.
You see, we have so many years of mental programming already in our mind. The culture we grew up in, the neighborhood, the family, significant life events, etc… All of those shape a story in our head that we repeat, over and over again. The longer it has been in our head, the less we notice it, and the more it influences our actions.
It takes time and consistency to erase and replace the old programming.
Here are 3 steps that I used and teach my clients to use in order to fast-track their journey to overcoming the impostor syndrome.
Step 1: Acknowledge Your Strengths
Take an inventory of your strengths. Perhaps ask your team or your boss for feedback. Often times, we don’t recognize the gold that is in us. Write them down. Read them aloud to yourself. Repeat!
Step 2: Change Your Self-Talk
Have you listened to your thoughts lately? How many times have you thought to yourself “I’m so stupid!” or “How could I be that dumb?”. Start paying attention to this! Change the narrative in your head.
When I worked at a Fortune 100 company, each time my boss called, I would think “What did I do wrong?” After repeated instances where I kept thinking this and then found out my boss was calling to congratulate me or ask for progress report, I decided to change the narrative. Each time he would call, I made myself think, “How can I help him today?” It empowered me! Instead of being apologetic and fearful, I was powerful and helpful. Small change, big results!
By the way, writing down your strengths and having them in a visible place helps change your self-talk as well!
Step 3: Notice Your Body Posture
Amy Cuddy has done some amazing research on the effect our body posture has on our confidence level. The basics – there are certain body postures (high power) that will trigger your brain to produce testosterone and give you a confidence boost. Other body postures (low power) trigger your brain to produce cortisol, start stressing you out, and result in less confidence.
Women tend to assume the low power poses. They take up less space, touch their neck often, have their hands crossed, etc… The high power poses center around taking up space, having straight shoulders, arms out, etc… So next time you go to a meeting, keep your shoulders back, put your arms on the table – own your space!
In doing so, not only are you sending powerful signals to those in the meeting, you’re also telling your brain to produce testosterone. Win/win!
Through consistent use of these tips, you’ll start seeing the same results my clients do! You’ll start to recognize and believe truly, deeply within that you are a powerful, influential female leader!
Which of these tips are you going to implement today? How are you training yourself to become a powerful, influential female leader?
Silvica Rosca founded Business Brains, Inc. in 2016. As its CEO, Silvica facilitates online group coaching programs, rich in content, and mentors individuals with a higher level of commitment to their personal, career and business success.