The Confidence Effect

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Written by Liz Willis on 18 December 2015

Having delivered hundreds of women’s development programmes to thousands of women around the world over the years, I’m always amazed and horrified at how many of our issues (I include myself in this) boil down to a lack of self-confidence, regardless of an individual’s culture or position inside her or his organisation.

So I leapt on Grace Killelea’s new book, The Confidence Effect — every woman’s guide to the attitude that attracts success’ with great anticipation. The author has set out to tackle the all-too-familiar scenario: the competent woman, with excellent skills and abilities, who works really hard, keeping her head down and shoring up her less competent colleagues, in the mistaken belief that, one day, someone will notice her excellent work and reward her. Sadly, they won’t.

In her book, Killelea outlines a ‘toolkit’ of strategies to enable such women to develop a level of confidence which will match their competence. She describes the place where confidence and competence connect as the ‘click’.

Judging by its content and style, the book seems to be written for women already in management and striving for promotion. Many of the case studies it contains are set within the context of ‘high-flying.’

Each chapter outlines a strategy. There are 18 in all, ranging from ‘The Importance of Stamina’ to ‘Being a Change Agent’ and ‘Delegation’. Each chapter ends with a ‘Takeaway’ – a snappy precis of the chapter, and the practical application of each strategy is usefully illustrated by a ‘Profile in Confidence’ in which a successful woman tells her own story. For anyone who knows The Springboard Consultancy’s ‘Springboard’ workbook, this will be a familiar structure.

I especially like Killelea’s ‘Six Tips for Stamina’: Focus on Wellness; Move your Body; Delegate; Practice Self-care; Join a Team, and Enjoy Yourself!

Emphasising the importance of being visible at work, she writes: ‘I have seen many young women make the mistake of thinking that after-hours events, parties and social interaction with people from work doesn’t matter. It does. And, increasingly, so does what you post on your Facebook page or in your Twitter feed and other forms of Social Media. You may think ‘It’s my personal life and none of the company’s business’ but, if you want to be looked at as a leader and someone who is going places in an organisation, then you want to be aware of how you’re showing up — even when you’re not in the office.’

And, on resilience, she says: ‘Maybe you’ve been speaking up, standing out, asking more…and it’s just not going your way. You’re not getting picked immediately; you may not be seeing direct results. Don’t fret. Often, what you learn when you don’t get picked is more important than what you may or may not learn when you do get picked.’

There are sufficient new and/or different ideas and materials in this book to make it worth a read. It’s written in a chirpy and accessible way, effused with positive thinking. My only disappointment is that it’s obviously written for the American market, with American references, quotes and case studies throughout. This creates a hurdle for non-American readers and may deter some people. 

About the author 

Liz Willis, is Joint CEO of The Springboard Consultancy