As a youngish working mother, nothing is more encouraging than meeting an experienced women who exudes humility, warmth and joy, who loves her career and her family and is genuinely committed to helping others. In 2001 just prior to becoming a mum of twin boys, she founded her now multi-award winning training and consulting business. She is also an executive coach, international speaker, volunteer and most recently author of her book “The Four Mindsets – How to Influence, Motivate and Lead a High Performance Team”. Anna-Lucia kindly shared some of her insights and views on what is holding women back in the workforce of today:
1. Thinking about women in the workplace what do you believe is their biggest barrier to career progression?
There is no doubt in my mind it’s confidence and lack of self-belief – and it’s not just in the workplace! Women are amazing, strong resilient and capable of so much more than they think – but what holds them back is exactly that – how they think. Women focus on their “flaws” whereas men focus on their strengths. If more women focused on what they are great at – I believe more women would burst through that glass ceiling! When a women is confident she can handle anything and be anything. I truly believe it and have seen it time and time again!
2. Most people believe you can’t teach confidence? Isn’t it something you are born with?
Yes certainly some people are born with a predisposition for it – however most people have to learn it – and earn it! Confidence and self-belief is not something you can think yourself into – it requires effort in the right areas and feedback from the right people. Otherwise you end up on shows like Australian Idol and become a laughing stock!!
There is a formula – and I talk about this in my book in detail but in a nutshell – the first step is for a person to understand exactly what the lack of confidence is linked to?
Typically lack of confidence usually comes down to the following: lack in job competence and/or lack of self-awareness, and/or lack of people skills (the last two being emotional intelligence) – and often all three are present.
3. So how does this relate to self-belief?
When people are not competent in their roles, lack self-awareness and have poor people skills– they tend to attract unwanted attention and are less likely to achieve the results they are after – as a result their self esteem plummets and confidence erodes even further. It’s a vicious cycle. However when people start building their skills in these areas they start to become more effective with people which gets them better results – and as a result their confidence and self-belief grows – and they start to shine!
4. So where do people start in building these skills?
The first thing you need to do is identify exactly where the learning gaps are – and fill them as soon as possible – and this is a perfect time of year to get started. Although it will take effort and some soul searching – the return will be immeasurable and you will feel so good about yourself next Christmas! So identify the course or courses you need to do to become 100% competent in the skills to do your job and then (or ideally simultaneously) start to build your emotional intelligence skills. This is the best way to build skills in self awareness and relationship/people skills. Start by reading emotional intelligence articles (as they are easy to read and summarise what you need to know) – and read my book!!! (shameless plug!!) There are really good exercises in there which you can use to quickly increase your self awareness and people skills– or which you can use to help and coach others to do the same. The faster you become Emotionally Intelligent the faster you improve results!
5. And finally what is your mantra for 2016?
My mantra was quoted at the Telstra Business Women’s Awards in 2012… and it hasn’t really changed since as it seems to still serve me well:
“I believe if you do the right things the right things happen! This means doing the hard work, constantly learning – empathising with others – and having the genuine desire to get the very best result you are capable of – and for others too”
This keeps me on the straight and narrow and I hope it resonates with your ladies!
Anna-Lucia Mackay is an award-winning educator, speaker and writer in the fields of management and education.
Non Executive Chairperson | Award Winning Management Educator I Telstra Business Woman of the Year Finalist 2012 I Best Selling Author of The Four Mindsets – How to Influence, Motivate and Lead a High Performance Team (Wiley 2015).
Other Specialist Areas: Emotional Intelligence, Management & Leadership Education, Organisational Design, Transformation and Change, Learning & Development Strategy.