Attracting Women in Tech Part 4 – Be Confident

I’ve talked about creating an innovation culture, getting curious and staying connected as the first three keys to attracting women in technology (and keeping them at your company). In this article, I cover key #4: Be Confident.

Key #4: Be Confident

 “Being confident and believing in your own self-worth is necessary to achieving your potential.”

― Sheryl Sandberg

Being confident means trying things out and having no fear of failure or rejection.

A workplace environment where divergent ideas can be safely expressed without fear of negative consequences enables an innovation culture where experimentation is encouraged. Not only will this improve job satisfaction for their women in technical roles, but also allow the company to benefit from fresh ideas and approaches to solving important problems. Some ways that companies can foster an innovation culture that emphasizes collaboration and experimentation include:

  • Leaders listen to and value diverging ideas
  • Hire people who are naturally motivated by collaboration and building community
  • Reward teamwork and long term success over short term gain

Even in comparatively inclusive organizational cultures, women technologists often experience micro-inequities, which, over time, can contribute to employee turnover. Experiences of being treated in a condescending manner or unfairly by supervisors or colleagues on a regular basis have been found to be a key reason why women engineers leave companies. Micro-inequities are usually not the result of bad intentions. Like larger inequities, they are the result of unconscious biases. To retain their valued women employees, companies need to be attuned to and actively counter this kind of demeaning behavior.

Leaders and individuals should seek out workshops and training to both learn about possible blind spots in their ways of thinking and reacting and to overcome possible fears and biases they have toward others. These should be experiences rather than classroom learning because truly knowing means having the actual experience. Being exposed to different perspectives by entering someone else’s world is a powerful way to confidence in leaders and employees alike.


Be Confident Exercises

(answer these questions)

  1. Are we experimenting in both our products and our management practices?
  2. When things don’t work out, do we reward people for trying something new, or do we punish them for making a mistake?
  3. Do we learn from our “mistakes,” and do we record the data?

Next time I’ll put it all together with the commitments needed to pull this off. ‘Til then …

Get Curious – Stay Connected – Be Confident

Read all Four Parts of this Series:

Attracting Women in Tech – Part 1 – Culture of…
Attracting Women in Tech – Part 2 – Get…
Attracting Women in Tech – Part 3 – Stay…
Attracting Women in Tech – Part 4  – Be…
Attracting Women in Tech – Part 5 – How to Pull this off