Frazer Jones 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 Lisa Edwards, Director, Talent Acquisition APAC, CSL.
How do you define confidence, particularly in the workplace?
For me confidence is about being secure enough to engage others for their opinions and input and not see that as a failing. It’s important that people don’t put pressure on themselves to have all of the answers.
Being open minded, curious and a continuous learner are also important traits. This will ensure you have the ability to contribute, ask the right questions, and form solutions. Your colleagues will then value and seek out your opinion which forms a positive enforcement loop that helps grow your confidence and credibility.
How do you think the confidence gap affects women?
Women’s confidence can be undermined for many reasons. Improving confidence goes some way to raising the visibility of women in the workplace but it doesn’t necessarily address structural imbalances and the underlying causes of gender inequality. A great book that shines a light on this issue is Catherine Fox’s “Stop Fixing Women”. She argues that women are told they need to back themselves more, negotiate better, speak up, support each other, and balance work and home. Basically, they need to do more. Insisting that women work on themselves continues to perpetuate the myth that somehow, we are in control of fixing a system built by men. We’ve made great strides, but there is a way to go and I think we need everyone in the workplace – both men and women – to own the issue.
How important have confidence and self-belief been in achieving your career goals? Please explain why.
I think it is important to know your values, your strengths and to be clear on where you add value. I learnt early in my career that if you don’t step up, then be prepared to potentially have a boss who has the same level of experience but more self-belief.
How important is mentoring, coaching and sponsorship in helping women to grow their confidence at work?
It can be helpful if you find someone you trust who has your best interests at heart. Look broadly within your organisation or externally. I had great support from my mentor when I was going on maternity leave with my first child. In fact, she promoted me while I was pregnant and gave me great advice on how to transition back to work after maternity leave.