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.
Frazer Jones interviewed Tracey Wardrope, Head of HR, BMT Global
How do you define confidence, particularly in the workplace?
In my experience, it can sometimes be intimidating when you are the only female in a meeting. It can be a constant battle where a woman always has to ensure that she comes across balanced and objective.
How do you think the confidence gap affects women?
It can be intimidating to be in meetings that have a lot of men in there and also, for the majority of time, the men like the sound of their own voices. It is a constant battle where a woman always has to ensure that she comes across balanced and objective.
Do you think women’s workplace confidence has improved over the past few decades? Please explain why
Yes. There are more women in the work place so statistically there is more likelihood that there will be more of a feeling of support.
How important have confidence and self-belief been in achieving your career goals? Please explain why.
Very important because you constantly have to have the confidence to challenge and be an active part of the discussion. If you come across as balanced and knowledgable that is fine but you have to have the confidence of your convictions.
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?
Every day. I think you have to surround yourself by those who will support you and allow you the time to reflect on all you do. "Acting as if" outwardly is very different to how someone feels internally.
How much has risk-taking contributed to your career development?
To be honest, I am not much of a risk taker and I believe I have worked hard to get where I am in my career. For me, it is not about risk but about hard work and having a strong team around you.
How important is mentoring, coaching and sponsorship in helping women to grow their confidence at work?
Very important and still quite lacking in all honesty. I think things are getting better and for more junior women the tide is changing but for those at middle management level, we are the forgotten ones.
How can confidence-building be built into career development strategies?
Coaching and mentoring (and reverse mentoring) are key to this as well as internal alumni. Being part of highly visible projects and getting credit where credit is due.
What can be done to ensure a woman being assertive in the workplace doesn’t negatively impact on colleagues’ perceptions of her?
Education of those with that perception and coaching for the ladies who may not know how to translate their passion.