Brewer Morris is proud to be supporting International Women’s Day 2019. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Whilst we all know that gender parity within the workplace has improved over the past decades, we all also know that there is still a long way to go.
We would like to join the discussion and be part of International Women’s Day 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign on the 8th March by interviewing inspiring women we work with and, in particular, understanding the role confidence has played in their career.
We interviewed Rachael Crocker, Group Manager, Brewer Morris
How do you think the confidence gap affects women?
In my experience, the confidence gap is real and, for me, was much bigger early on in my career and also when I returned to work after having my children. It has a huge impact on progression for women and has certainly been my biggest hurdle over the years. As I’ve gained more experience and grown in confidence I’ve really seen the difference it makes, I am far more able to take risks and stick my hand up for new challenges than I used to be.
Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome (where you doubt your achievements and have an internalised fear of being exposed as a “fraud”)? If so, how did you overcome it?
All the time! I definitely experience imposter syndrome and I have often put my achievements down to luck or given away the credit to others too easily over the years, but it’s a habit I’m trying to kick. I find that breaking my goals down into bite-sized pieces and celebrating the small wins helps to reassure me that I’m on track. I tend to have a clear plan and looking back over that reminds me that it’s not luck or chance, I’m achieving what I’ve set out to do. I also have a wonderful team who are very good at reminding me that I’m actually quite good at my job!
How important is mentoring, coaching and sponsorship in helping women to grow their confidence at work?
It’s so important and a great opportunity for men to help bridge the confidence gap. All too often women are automatically paired with other women on mentoring schemes, which can be great in many ways, but I have found that male mentors are usually the best placed to encourage risk taking and a more confident approach to situations. I also feel it is the responsibility of women who have experienced the confidence gap and closed it over the years to support our colleagues to close it earlier through sponsorship and coaching.
What can be done to ensure a woman being assertive in the workplace doesn’t negatively impact on colleagues’ perceptions of her?
I believe that, male or female, how you treat people will always define how you are perceived. For me, relationships are everything and as long as you treat your colleagues well and with respect you will always have room to stand your ground when needed. Women in particular must try not to get too emotional, a bit of passion is great but it’s important to be considered and deliver your message in the right way. Finally, pick your battles, don’t try to counter a lack of confidence by being assertive all the time, self-belief can mean knowing when to keep your powder dry.