In continuance of last week’s blog, Women’s low confidence hurts them in the workplace, financially and in other life achievements. By hesitating to try something they are unsure of, by being risk adverse, they may sabotage their hard-earned competence and status.
This is perplexing to male bosses. Most men, and I am one of them, do not understand the reasons for women’s low confidence. Especially when it keeps women from achieving their best.
A WNBA basketball coach noted that women tend to dwell on the past or on potential failures and mistakes instead of focusing on the task at hand. This is their, the women basketball players, biggest psychological hang up preventing their top performance.
Women’s pursuit of perfection is also most crippling to them and sabotages their own confidence. They set the bar impossibly high thus making them feel inadequate. They avoid taking action until they feel they are better informed, better prepared and better than anyone else. They watch their male co-workers lean in, and in the meantime, hold back until they are perfectly ready.
Women will not claim their competence until they know everything while their male counterpart will wing it. They want to be completely on top of all of the information at hand, understand it thoroughly and do not want to be fooled by somebody else.
Another conclusion of Kay and Shipman is success correlates more so to confidence than it does with competence. You can be highly educated in your field, but you will be held back by your lack of confidence.
On the flip side, women’s cautiousness and thoroughness is an advantage in the financial world. Studies have found that women hedge fund managers earn triple the return of their male counterparts. Also, women investors do better than men since they are not susceptible to the trill of frequent trading.
Thus, women’s instinct for caution is very valuable. Finding a nice balance between caution, competence and confidence is a recipe for success.
Is low confidence keeping more women from becoming financial advisors? According to Katty Kay co-author of “The confidence Code” it is. Many women lack confidence in their financial competence. And it is suggested that there should be a more concerted effort to encourage girls to go into fields strong in math, science and business.
I personally have found very few women in the finance industry. I have had the pleasure to know quite a few and respect them all for jumping in and succeeding in a very tough industry more particularly such as mine.
Recently I have spent much time on some online workshops where you are able to see who else is participating. Out of one hundred participants there may be as many as five women on the webinar.
Co-author Claire Shipman adds that part of the solution is to offer more flexibility in jobs that have not been flexible in the past. If brokerage and advisory firms want more women in the field, the firms will need to offer flextime options, child care at work, paid maternity leave and over options that would make the job more attractive.
Back on the webinars, one lady was online and would occasionally have a young child chirp in with a cry or baby talk. She was able to handle the child and also mute her microphone. And truthfully, no one was bothered by the interruption. Which points directly to the internet and technology that may provide more capability for women to work.
More to come next week, with a final blog of the list of 12 ways to build authentic confidence.