How career women can build and maintain self confidence

Friday August 30 2019

Leadership. Participants at an Institute of

Leadership. Participants at an Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda training for women in Accountancy at Imperial Royale Hotel last week. Photo by Charlotte Ninsiima 

By Charlotte Ninsiima

“Only 7 per cent of women occupy management jobs. Women begin their careers confident to reaching top management at 43 per cent but lose it along the way with a decline in experiences at mid-career to 16 per cent,” says Jacqueline Kobusingye Opondo, Board Chair of Capital Markets Authority and Team leader, Community Care at Watoto Ministries.
She said this at the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda training for women in Accountancy at Imperial Royale Hotel last week.

Kobusingye says women are less likely to take a risk on their career due to cultural norms, negative stereotypes and power paradigms. She says some organisations do not support women, especially in regards to human resource policies that do not favour women such as lack of child-friendly policies (breast-feeding booth) and long working hours.
Home dynamics in terms of multiple roles assigned to a woman. In some homes, conservative husbands see women employed as a threat to their marriage, she adds.

Building confidence
Kobusingye says confidence is a belief in our ability to succeed at a given task. A lack of it drives risk aversion and makes people less willing to pursue new challenges. She shares tips that can help career women, and professionals in general, build confidence for professional excellence.

Assess yourself
Visualise where you want to be. Never hide under well done makeup. There is so much God has placed in you. What one’s mind conceives, it can achieve. Embark on doing things differently. Perceive a positive image about oneself in future because if you don’t see it, you won’t get it.

Reflection, self-evaluation
Start with serious reflections. We focus so much on what we can’t do as opposed to what we are capable of doing. It is so much easier to operate on area of strength than weakness. Evaluate how one can leverage their strength to grow an organisation and team. How else to leverage the benefit to others and be recognised as an asset. If you’re going to develop self-confidence, one needs to change their priorities.”

Affirm yourself
Affirm yourself and get rid of self-limiting beliefs. Beliefs such as ‘I can’t speak in public setting, I am not qualified for the role’. We face negativity at a certain point in life. Never focus on the negative.
If one has made mistakes, they should learn from it and move on without looking back. Contribute constructively to decisions by bringing a lot of intelligence to the table. Don’t settle for less; change the narrative around yourself.


Be in charge of your growth
Take responsibility for your growth and career path. Once one is determined to get to where they want to go, be strong and courageous. Personal growth costs money, time and relationships that include working long hours, investing in trainings/ education. Therefore, one is stronger than what they believe and smarter than they think.
Approve yourself as opposed to limiting yourself. If you stop growing, that’s when you start dying. What are you doing to grow in the areas of specialty so that one looks out for competencies that you desire to possess? Look out for job descriptions that can get you started to pursue your dream job.

Define yourself
Create personal boundaries. Sometimes we get bullied. However, we need to confront or speak up and put your position very clear in a polite manner. Define yourself and reject being a victim of violence. Learn to be assertive in a polite way without appearing dishonouring.

Be willing to take on challenges
Be willing to take on new challenges. If you’re going to be a leader, you can’t specialise in one particular area. You get limited but volunteering exposes you to new experiences that include leading a team, interacting, learning and taking on different roles. One needs to know how the whole organisation works. The more one knows, the more one is at advantage to take on new challenges so that it finds them ready.

Action plans
Develop action plans and execute them. Give your all. Project where you want to see yourself in five years; what values, goals and nonnegotiable or negotiables at a work environment.
Assess the skills acquired overtime, what weaknesses are limiting and which opportunities can you tap into in your organisation. Do smarter goals and a SWOT analysis that can be embarked on now than procrastinating them.”

Work-life balance
Organisations can support the whole person and not just a worker. Managing work-life balance is part of a broader cultural conversation. Reinforce verbal support for the whole person. It shows that one cares for the whole person now and tomorrow.

Manage emotions
One needs control through emotional intelligence to be authentic; overcome anger by evading it from spreading to the work and family spaces and look out for solutions.