New Study Says Lack of Confidence is a Barrier

What keeps women in Utah from becoming more engaged and developing their capacity for leadership, both formal and informal? Confidence is at least part of the answer, according to 60 women, most of them leaders, who responded to a LinkedIn post asking the question.

This internal barrier is a powerful one, and one that we too often as women allow to keep us from contributing. When we lack confidence, we are less likely to develop and share our talents, skills, insights, and strengths with others.

A recent brief by Dr. Madsen details proposed solutions to help more girls in Utah to be more confident. If you haven’t read “Women, Confidence and Leadership: What Do Utah Women Leaders Think?” take a minute now.

The brief provides insights gathered from a group of women, many of them college students, who attended a presentation about confidence at UVU in September. For many of the participants, it was an eye-opener that renewed their courage and gave them confidence they didn’t know they had. When asked what they learned that meant most to them, one student answered, “You can fail and not be a failure.” Others appreciated the reminder that confidence is based on action and “doing” things. All agreed that more positive influences in their lives would have helped – people who take a personal stake in the success of others and provide honest feedback.

Girls and women seem to struggle with confidence more than men. Those struggles with confidence can be rooted in such things as body image and appearance, perfectionism, and approach to failure. Sometimes it comes from not feeling appreciated or feeling “less than.” The times Utah women report struggling most are during their growing up years and often in motherhood. We’ll explore these topics and effective ways to address them in greater detail in upcoming weeks.

So how do we help more girls and women develop confidence? Click here for Dr. Madsen’s suggestions.

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