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Building Confidence Using Small Action Steps

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Last week I created a posting on how a lack of confidence can show up in myriad ways.


Here is a case in point: one of my clients (who I shall refer to as Mandy, but whose name has been changed to protect their identity) works at a big tech firm. She came to me because she had been passed over for a promotion, in favor of a less experienced peer and it was leading her to second guess her value. She came to me in the hopes of getting support with leadership skills.


Through a 360 assessment (where quick feedback is solicited from her manager, peers and direct reports), we in fact discovered that she had not developed the visibility and credibility at her manager's peers, which was where the promotion decisions were being made. This was in spite of her being a thought leader and having expertise in a number of domains.


On further probing and a self-assessment survey, we learned it was in part due to her lack of confidence that was causing her to remain silent in high-stakes meetings attended by the VP and Director level.


I invited Mandy to identify for herself the smallest, most low-risk way she could start speaking up in those meetings. She wanted to start out by just voicing up her agreement in the next meeting: "I agree with [person]". I next asked her how she would build on that in subsequent meetings and how it would sound, using her own words. You can see what she came up with in the picture.


Over the course of our work together, Mandy went from saying nothing in these meetings to feeling more confident in putting across her point of view and building her influence and credibility at this higher level. Naturally a promotion is her end game, and we must wait to see how this new visibility plays out during the next cycle, but the feedback has been very positive and signal she is on the right track.


Are you holding back during meetings? Since everyone is different, how would the smallest, most low-risk contribution to your next high-stakes meeting sound to you?


A visual illustrating a woman named Mandy and the things she will saying during meetings as her confidence grows through the leadership coaching with Alex Hurworth.

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