Why are you here? That’s how Henrietta Royle, CEO of Fanshawe Haldin, former COO of CASS Business School and co-founder of the 30% club started off our Workplace Confidence Workshop last night. It may seem simple; blunt even, but with Workshops you as an individual need to think exactly why you are here. And no one was shy in sharing. It was interesting to see how so many people struggled with confidence and in such a variety of ways. The starter question managed to cover a whole host of problems, including

  • Profile building –how to project your development in your role
  • Stop being undervalued and overlooked
  • Gravitas
  • Being taken seriously
  • Sometimes seen as OTT
  • Confidence to value your work
  • Having the confidence to say NO

Appearance Henrietta was able to answer individual worries whilst also giving valuable insight into the bigger picture. One example of this was how Henrietta addressed the way women dress in the workplace. Although it is easy to say, dressing smarter will mean you think smarter and appear smarter, it is sometimes hard to see past how appearance can really make that much of a difference. But first impressions do count. How many men in your workplace frequently wear a suit (with or without a tie) on a day to day basis? Can you say the same about your female colleagues? It is worth looking your best, as a groomed exterior makes you appear more controlled and reliable than someone who looks like their top has been ruffled by the wind! It can even transform your perception in the workplace and turn you into a more authoritative figure- all things which can help your confidence whilst at work. Other helpful tips Henrietta discussed to do with your own person skills was the effect talking at a slow, even keel does to your perception. It immediately makes you appear to be confident, strong and to be self assured in what you are saying – if you don’t believe in what you are saying why should anyone else? Delegation Another key way to boost your confidence was learning to properly delegate. It is a very current issue as the majority of our attendees admitted to struggling to delegate properly. “They will just get it wrong” and “they will take credit for my work” proved to be the major stumbling blocks in why women were apprehensive about off loading their work. But then Henrietta raised the Key point – “If you don’t develop your team, and give them new things to do –which you wanted in their position, how can you expect anyone to develop you?” Developing in your role means also developing your team and seeing their progression which can you mean good things for you and your ability as a manager and leader. Delegating tasks which are time consuming and yet which clog up the time you spend doing things you enjoy and are best at gives the most value to your company and to yourself as your time can be used to progress and develop projects or new business leads which otherwise you wouldn’t get around to doing. Maternity Many of last night’s attendees also mentioned ho0w maternity leave had impacted them – as both they and their peers had taken leave. Henrietta was able to give some really great insight and clarity in what to expect and what is expected about maternity leave. Maternity coaching for both the employee and their boss has had a huge success rate for managing expectations and implementing a system where both boss, peers and the new mum can all feel comfortable and honest. What came out of last night’s discussion was that when going on maternity leave you do need to rationalise and have to think realistically – how long away would be detrimental? A commons misconception is that once you announce your pregnancy you are immediately seen as less ambitious and less able – make sure you don’t take your foot off the accelerator until the day you leave. That is one way to convince your peers that you are the same person they have been working with, and you are still as keen as ever to progress and do well in your job. Reliability Henrietta highlighted the importance of staying true to your word. If you tell your company you will be away for say 9 months then stick to that, and make sure you don’t change your mind last minute. People will have been planning around your return so last minute changes of heart will not keep you in good stead with your colleagues. Annual Leave Everyone is entitled to their time away – to everyone, annual leave is precious. But when you are in a senior role-with a senior pay packet, certain levels of commitment are expected of you, many of which mean that you can’t completely switch off from work. Answering emails on holiday, although sounds as though you can never fully escape the office actually help in the long run. You will feel more in the loop and more controlled when you arrive back from leave having answered a certain level of emails. Mentoring Are women “over mentored and under sponsored?” That was one of the key issues that arose at last night’s workshop. Women seem to be happy to have mentors who will help them along the way when needed but there seems to be a lack of sponsors or advocates who want to help you fulfil your potential and help progress your career. Having someone who is at a senior level and who supports and believes in you can really help boost your confidence levels. There are three ways which will help you find your perfect career advocate:

  • Pro-actively identify who can be helpful in your career
  • Think why someone would want to sponsor you-positivity!

Pay Having the confidence to ask for that pay rise is essential in your happiness in your job and in your progression. So many people are doing the work and even have the title of their promotion but without the financial gains that usually go with that. If bosses aren’t asked about pay increases then they will presume that you are happy on your salary and in your role. People aren’t psychic so while you simmer away and your unhappiness builds, they won’t know how you feel. How to stand out amongst your peers That is often the main dilemma faced by women in the working environment (not excluding men!) –how to appear ahead of your peers without alienating them or causing your workplace to become a hot bed of competition and rivalry. You don’t want to be seen as ruthless but neither do you want to be seen as pushover who let other people through whilst you stand back. Important pieces of advice that Henrietta shared was if you have won new business be positive about it! You have to think about who the key people in your company are who need to know how good you are. Thinking about the relationships that could be useful to you in your current & future jobs is an excellent way of making the right connections at the right time. People often under estimate the power and value of networking and meeting the people who can help you get ahead. Problems Other problems discussed included a reluctance or confidence to say “I”. Being seen as an excellent team member is definitely a top priority in the workplace but you also need to value your own work. Think about what you have contributed within your team set up. Women can be their own worst enemy but just have faith in yourself. If you can’t then how do you expect anyone else to? Stop being so apologetic and identify if you need to apologise – don’t let it become an automatic pilot, as others will let you take the blame if you appear willing to apologise readily. Tip for presentations

  • Again, no one will know you are nervous but yourself
  • Preparation is key!
  • Rehearse –with friends, partners, anyone!
  • Triple check I.T
  • Fake it

Our workshop addressed the current issues affecting confidence in the workplace. Henrietta really inspired people to think about themselves and identified ways of dealing with the main problems. It was a great start to our Career Development Programme and are excited for our next one. If you would like to be kept updated about our events please contact anna@hansonsearch.com for more info.

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