By Julie Grieve, Founder, Information Apps
(as published in The Scotsman)
One very clear message coming out of that last week’s International Women’s Day is that when women sit at the decision-making table, better decisions are made.
But getting a place at that table is a complex mix of circumstance, the workplace environment and personal confidence.
It’s often been said that women are hardwired differently to men and that lack of confidence – our lack of belief in our ability – is one of the big barriers to our success.
I’ve certainly known ‘imposter syndrome’ when I would expect a boss to turn around and say ‘haha, we didn’t really mean to give you the job!’
But I’ve also come to understand that dealing with a so-called lack of confidence is actually a matter of courage – and we know that women are courageous. I’ve learnt to change the language. Don’t try; do. And like anything in this world I believe it is a skill you can learn, it needs work and it needs reinforcement. But it does make a difference.
One of my favourite sayings is ‘everyone gets butterflies; the professionals get them to fly in formation!’ So I’ve learned to share my vision and my ideas. Nothing works if your team isn’t with you and that includes surrounding yourself with people who challenge you, to hone your thinking and belief.
But also be prepared to disagree; don’t subscribe to group think; ask the “daft” question. Make plans and then change them if you need to. What’s the worst that can happen? Courage, confidence, whatever you like to call it attracts others and people respond well when they see it in action.
A women’s contribution to the workplace is now a matter of fact. Research by Grant Thornton shows that listed companies with male-only boards in the UK, US and India are foregoing potential profits of $655bn. And diversity to grapple with today’s uncertain and complex world is more important than ever.
Many men agree they need our talent and it was terrific to see the first power list of male Agents of Change announced at the MT Inspiring Women Conference in Edinburgh
Time to shake the devil off your shoulder; trust me it’s exhilarating.