The Sue-per Women team weighs in on the impactful roles confidence and the desire for perfection play in achieving tangible results.
As a consulting and advisory firm, our consultants serve as trusted advisors and are constantly interacting with current and potential clients in ways that require direct advice delivered with unflinching confidence. While we don’t want to suggest arrogance, we have insightful findings and recommendations to offer and, importantly, want to convey these findings and recommendations with confidence. Our confidence, in turn, instills confidence in our clients that they are working with the best and getting great value. A few of the many observations on a gender-driven confidence code, drawn from the research compilation and observations of Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in The Confidence Gap, may help us check our confidence levels, and work to improve if needed.
An inhibitor to confidence seen in women is the desire for perfection instilled, as the research suggests, in grade school. Perfect outcomes, when they occur, are exceptional. But the problem with striving for perfect is the extra effort is frequently not worth the marginal delta in outcome. The article raises an extension to the common adage “Perfect is the enemy of good” – suggesting that time is wasted striving for perfect when “good” will get it done and allow moving on. The extension is that women’s fixation on perfectionism is not only the enemy of good, but it’s also a significant inhibitor to their confidence and getting anything done! Are there times when we can easily adjust our expectations for “perfect” in a way that boosts our confidence, and that of others in our accomplishment? It’s worth considering.
Understanding our confidence gap may help put a mirror on ourselves, and improve our confidence and delivery. I am confident that we have a team of extremely capable consultants and trusted advisors – trained at top-tier schools, affirmed with impressive certifications and resumes of positive impact to wide-ranging clients. The question is, in mixed gender settings, are our consultants speaking up, and demonstrating sufficient confidence to convince others that they are ready and able to handle the next level of responsibility? Perhaps confidence needs to be part of our performance evaluation process?
As Richard Petty of Ohio State was quoted in The Confidence Gap, “Confidence is the factor that turns thoughts into judgements about what we are capable of, and that then transforms those judgments into action.”
Act – and determine your level of confidence by taking Kay and Shipman’s Confidence Quiz at http://theconfidencecode.com/confidence-quiz/.