First, I read a book called by . I read it during the few weeks after I quit Andersen Consulting and before I started at Tactica. I came into that job at the ripe age of 23 with a new philosophy that was embraced at this start-up company. I constantly asked for more, jumped in, and took risks, and was rewarded greatly for it, sometimes uncomfortably fast. I pushed for an early promotion to manager, arguably about 6 months too early, and got it. It was hard, but I learned a ton and it encouraged me to continue taking risks. I absolutely still have my insecurities and resonated a lot with the article, but I think this book helped me rewire some of my “natural” tendencies.Second, I recently watched this video Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are where social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” could have an impact on our success. I found it compelling when I watched it; I was really surprised by the evidence around how our body language not only changes how others perceive us but literally changes our own body chemistry to provide more confidence. What really moved me was trying it for myself. I couldn’t believe that changing the way I sat or stood changed how easy it was for me to ask for a sale or deliver a hard message to a client. The speaker talks about “fake it ’til you make it” and it is a practical piece of advice that complements the Atlantic article.
As for how to help our female colleagues, I think an awareness of these challenges is really helpful. Two stories really struck me in the article – the one about the male and female colleagues in contrast to each other and the quote about the male manager being afraid to bring this up for fear of gender bias. I know it is hard, but women deserve to have someone not only talk with them openly about these types of challenges, but also support them in experimenting with behaviors that may drive more confidence.