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 Rebecca, HR Director, Australia & New Zealand, SEEK.
How do you define confidence, particularly in the workplace?
I define confidence as having belief in yourself that you are talented and capable enough to achieve whatever it is that you are looking to.
How important have confidence and self-belief been in achieving your career goals? Please explain why.
They’ve been incredibly important, and I think that both link to resilience. We all have bumps along the road and having the belief in yourself that you’ll be OK (and even more than OK) is really important. In particular, confidence in myself was even more important as I transitioned twice back from parental leave. Whilst I have an extremely supportive employer, making sure that I was sure of my value and confident in my capability after a period of time out I think led to bigger roles upon my return in both instances.
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?
Of course! I am continuing to try and be open, honest and proud of my achievements, but as a leader I definitely prefer others to be taking the credit and celebrated. I think a lot about the example that I set for my team, and others around me, that it is ok to be celebrated, and be outwardly confident in your capabilities.
How much has risk-taking contributed to your career development?
A lot. I’ve always been one to put my hand forward for the tough project, the bigger job and thought ‘well I’ll work out how to do it later!’. Most of the time it’s paid off.
Can you give an example of a risk you’ve taken that has paid dividend?
Leaving quite a large role at Telstra to take up a role at SEEK, which, at the time was a much smaller organisation with a smaller client group at team. The Group HRD at the time convinced me, as did a number of other mentors that it would be the right step and I haven’t looked back! I had been at Telstra for nearly 10 years, and so wasn’t sure that I knew how to be successful somewhere else. I feel very lucky to be in the role that I am now, having the privilege to lead a super talented and diverse team across a number of HR functions, and supporting SEEK into their next phase of evolution across Asia Pacific.
How important is mentoring, coaching and sponsorship in helping women to grow their confidence at work?
I believe it’s critical. There are times when your confidence can take a hit, or you have a bad day, or you aren’t feeling that self-belief for some reason. You need to have a community of people who do have that belief in you, to help prop you up and push you forward, introduce you to opportunities. I would say that each of these (mentoring, coaching and sponsorship) are all quite different relationships, and it’s the combination of each at the right time for you that can be quite powerful.
How can confidence-building be built into career development strategies?
In many ways. You might have a strategy to develop in role, and just taking on a smaller project, or part of a project will prove to yourself that you can do it. You might have mentoring as part of your strategy or even an external program that pushes yourself outside of your comfort zone. We’re proud of how we develop female talent at SEEK, and our female development program focuses on confidence as well as how to be successful at SEEK. All of our career development is grounded in strengths as well, which at its core aims up to make sure you are aware of your strengths and how to leverage them, which is critical for confidence and self-belief.