Women in Tech: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

“Imposter syndrome,” or doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud at work, is a diagnosis often given to women. Women experience this confidence gap daily. A classic example of this gap is when women do not apply for a job role because she is not 100% qualified. Men apply for opportunities even if they are not a perfect fit for the role.

As you build your team, be aware of females who may be struggling with imposter syndrome. Here are a few tips to help everyone reduce bias and reach new heights in their career.

Challenge: Feeling unsure at work is normal.

Women are often given feedback about how and when to improve at every turn whereas men overcome feelings of insecurity faster because their intelligence and professionalism are validated more often.

Answer: Choose your phrases and words carefully.

Always validate your direct reports’ insight, ideas, and what they bring to the table.

Perhaps your team is hiring, and you refer a rockstar for the job. If your boss is interested, she should say, “This candidate is a great fit for the role because of X…Y…and Z.” Let’s leave it at this even if she’s not a perfect fit. When hired, create a professional development plan and work collaboratively with the candidate to improve her strengths.

Another strategy that can be applied in meetings is called “amplification.” Below is an example of amplification in action.

“When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.” – Juliet Eilperin via Vox

This model is applicable for all professionals seeking to level up their teams!

Challenge: Devaluing your experience

Have you also found yourself saying some form of “I don’t know how to do that?” Repeating this statement and variations of it is a sure way to devalue your knowledge and rob yourself of opportunities to grow.

Answer: Choose your phrases and words carefully. (Repeated because it is that important!)

Try instead, “I haven’t been exposed to “X” yet but am interested in learning more. Do you have best-practices to suggest?”

Challenge: Sorry not sorry

Women apologize constantly even though there is no need to. This is one area I’m personally working on. If you don’t see this line in my email you know I’m improving! “Apologies for my late reply.”

Answer: Be aware of your tone. AKA Choose your phrases and words carefully.

By simply changing your communication tone we can deliver the same message differently: “Thank you for your patience.”

Challenge: Filler words

We use too many filler words in everyday communication. This takes away from our power base.

Answer: Practice removing filler words in all your interactions.

Stop using filler words such as “like” and “you know”. You will see that your vocabulary will immediate expand.

If you have a team, keep an eye out for these habits from your team and work with your employees to correct in a one-on-one conversation as soon as you can. As a leader and mentor, choosing your words carefully is extremely important in these conversations.

Challenge: Evaluate how you value yourself.

Women tend to be over accommodating. Think about a time when a woman asked her colleagues if they’d like anything from the breakroom. Suddenly, that woman is the coffee run “girl”.

Answer: Stop being so accommodating.

Stop offering to get coffee or clean up the breakroom unless there is a schedule in place that requires everyone to do it equally.

Challenge: Getting an accurate picture of your current professional self

Having an accurate picture of your professional self is a necessary starting point to your growth and success. Artificial confidence is easy to come by but not helpful and sometimes destructive. Genuine and lasting confidence comes from constructive feedback. 

Answer: Find your squad

Find a group of individuals who provide constructive criticism and value your contributions, so you have true insights on areas of development. Remember, being nice and being kind is NOT the same thing. You don’t want to surround yourself with “nice” people who tell you what you want to hear. Find a squad who will be “kind” and tell you when you’ve messed up, when you’re devaluing yourself, and when you’re on the right track.

If you are struggling with imposter syndrome, mentoring a group of women, or leading a team focus on these areas for improvement. If you have questions, need more information, or would like to get connected to an amazing female leader email me!

Marketing Leadership Roundtable Recap

We’re back! I am glad to report that ATC has the first in-person event in 16 months under our belts. This morning we met with founders, CEOs, and marketers for our Marketing Roundtable facilitated by Workhorse Marketing Founder & CEO, Grant Chambers.

Marketing leaders have the important task of shaping and driving brands, demand for products, services and customer experiences. They have persevered through creativity, efficiency, and hard work.

As we all look forward, here are some topics that are on marketer’s minds in the Austin tech scene:

Building trust and credibility in a digital-first era is of paramount importance. Professionals have or are in the process of reestablishing the customer-centric messaging that has created brand evangelists again and again.

Back to website basics
The “website as a resume” format of digital presence is long gone but 2020 compounded the impact of the digital journey on B2B buyers’ decisions. Your website continues to be the anchor your buyers will lean on. How do you keep it relevant? Build it as a mirror of who they are and what their pain points are. Only then will you capture their attention to discuss what solutions your tech company offers.

Solutions vs Cutting Corners
Executives are leveraging their marketing leaders to not only generate product demand, but as the listening mechanism to inform their decisions about which products should be launched at all. That positions marketers in a way we hadn’t seen in the “Mad Men” era of advertising and marketing.

Q: How do marketers then help the buyer identify their root challenge, inform, and then choose a product that isn’t just cutting corners when they don’t speak with a person until the end of their buying journey?

A: With humanity and personalization, of course.

More than a few of our attendees used 2020 as a time to build their relationships deeply. Rather than cast a wide net, they invested more of their time to get to know their clients on multiple levels and it paid off. In order to scale that, marketers are looking for a new level of personalization in their communications. The data at our fingertips is massive and we can garner even more in order to know buyers intimately even before our sales team has a phone call with them – if we’re willing to offer transparency on the upfront.

Data security & Personalization
Be clear about what you’re asking for, why you need it, and how you’ll use it. In the same breath, your company should describe how their data is being protected. I, for one, am comfortable giving my email address to every Tom, Dick, and Harry who own a business (my 4,000+ personal inbox is proof). But
seeing a disclaimer stating something to the effect of, “We will never sell your data or share it with anyone without your permission,” buys that much more confidence and brand loyalty.

Receiving personalized and thoughtful communications from businesses will set any company apart from the crowd. There is only one way to do that and that’s data collection. Put your buyers at ease by going the extra mile to explain your policies and make them easily accessible.

A common thread
Our facilitator Grant put it succinctly – “The common thread in this conversation was very much about getting back to people.”

How have you have you navigated the past 15 months and what learnings are you taking into the next era of your marketing strategy?

Apply for the 2021 Generous Business Awards

Austin Gives, a program of the Austin Chamber that encourages business philanthropy, has launched this year’s awards nominations. Our mission is to recognize businesses who have pledged to give back through volunteer time, products, services and financial support toward their community impact efforts.

Does your business give back? Is it part of your mission to engage in making our community a better place to live and work? If you are a company who makes generosity a part of your business model, we believe you deserve to be recognized and celebrated for your efforts, inspiring others to follow your lead. Last year we added two new award categories to celebrate Employee Engagement efforts and Volunteers who lead in the workplace.

Applications are being accepted now through April 30th, For this year’s Generous Business Awards.

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