On ROI’s Into the Corner Office podcast, we have interviewed over 200 leading middle-market CEOs from companies across industries, and the advice and wisdom they have shared with us is unparalleled. We are excited to share some of these insights with you in a new form!
We have been so fortunate to have some truly standout female CEOs as guests, and I wanted to highlight a message that I have heard several times from top female CEOs: be confident.
During my interview with Susan Cameron, Retired CEO & Chairman of Reynolds American, Inc., I specifically asked her if she has advice for women who have their sights set on a leadership role. “One of the things that women do to themselves,” she said, “is they believe that they are not ready. They really need to believe they are ready.”
Stephanie Pugliese, CEO of Under Armour North America, also had some words to say about confidence and shared a book recommendation for our listeners who are interested in learning more about or doing growth work in this area. “The book that I’m listening to right now is called The Confidence Code by Claire Shipman, which is a fantastic insight into the importance of confidence and number one, how we can help to build confidence in ourselves and–if we’re parents–in our children. It’s also got a great perspective on women and confidence and how that is an opportunity for us and how it also can set very talented, capable women back if they don’t own their own selves and their own abilities.
From a leading and team development standpoint, said Francesca Schuler, former CEO of In-Shape Health Clubs, some of the biggest challenges are around confidence. How do you help everybody, particularly women, build their leadership confidence? Focusing on competing vs comparing is one of most valuable lessons she learned which really helped her stay focused on building skills and leaning into strengths. She goes on to elaborate, “One of the fastest ways to lose confidence os continually comparing yourself to others and paying attention to ‘Who got promoted, who got on this project, etc.’” The danger in this is you can quickly get to a place where you think you are not as good as someone else which then starts to permeate your style and your approach. This is a slippery slope as you never know the full picture as to why someone got promoted, etc. therefore, it is much more helpful to focus on your own role, how it contributes to the team and the company, and compete to win at achieving your goals. Just like an athlete on a team, if you stay focused on understanding your role, do your job, collaborate with others, and always stay curious and humble, you will be successful and that builds confidence. Worrying about what everyone else is doing wastes energy. This mindset will build your internal confidence to have a point of view and to not be afraid to share it and keep moving forward.
For more stories from top female CEOs, head to our podcast page on the website, or listen to ROI’s Into the Corner Office on your favorite podcast player.