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Tony D'Amelio

By: Tony D'Amelio on April 20th, 2017

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Women at Work: Why Confidence is Important at Work - More Than Know-How

HR Focus | Motivation | Leadership


Women and Success

When it comes to women at work – what matters more, confidence or competence? 
The answer is surprising because the latest research shows why confidence is important at work - even more important than actual skills.

This issue of competence vs. confidence is just one of the questions BBC News anchor KATTY KAY (and co-author Claire Shipman) explored in their bestselling book The Confidence Code. That book came out three years ago this month and launched an important conversation about woman and success.  Central to that is The Confidence Gap – the fact that scientific research has shown women to be genetically pre-disposed to being less confident than men.  That was groundbreaking news.

Here’s a video of Katty talking about women at work and the confidence vs. competence issue.  

KATTY KAY: What Matters Most, Competence or Confidence?


The Science Behind the 
"Competence vs. Confidence" Discussion

I asked Katty to explain more about the research she and her co-author did to unearth these conclusions about women at work and why confidence is important.  Here's what she said:

"Cameron Anderson out in Berkley, California studies the relative importance of competence and confidence when it comes to success. His conclusion is that when it comes to success, confidence matters as much, if not more than competence. And then we thought this was so depressing we almost didn’t put it in the book because for women it’s an anathema. We are all about competence. We think that if we put our heads down and we work hard and we play by the rules and we color in the lines, somebody will come along and pat us on the shoulder and tell us our natural talents have been rewarded. And then we looked around us kind of irritated as the guys around us have got promoted over us and pay rises bigger than ours and we knew they weren’t more competent than we were, but they had something else. They had confidence. And we decided we needed to put this in the book because it is time for women to redefine what talent really means. A part of talent is having confidence. It is that ability to speak up in a meeting, to come up with new ideas, to tell your boss when you’ve had a success, to go for that promotion, to be in the forefront of the team and show leadership capacities. That is confidence and it matters when it comes to success. And I think it’s time that women rather than kind of shying away from this idea, embrace it because it’s something we can all learn."

SUPPLEMENTAL READING:  Katty Kay: 2017 International Women’s Day and The Confidence Code,Women & Confidence: Katty Kay Shares Insights From The Confidence Code and
Katty Kay - Confidence Code Speech Description

Speaking on Confidence

Since The Confidence Code debuted, Katty has been a frequent keynoter and panel moderator at women’s events far and wide about why confidence is important at work.  As a motivational speaker, Katty inspires women’s groups with a message about confidence, leadership and success. And a new dimension, Katty and Claire expanded the scope of this work when they led the first-ever Confidence Code for Girls and the Women in Their Lives this month in Baltimore, sponsored by the Baltimore Business Journal.


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About Tony D'Amelio

Tony has spent his career putting talented people and audiences together, first in the music business and later representing the world's leading speakers. After concluding 27 years as Executive Vice President of the Washington Speakers Bureau, Tony launched D'Amelio Network, a boutique firm that manages the speaking activities of a select group of experts on business, management, politics and current events. Clients include: Mike Abrashoff, Mariana Atencio, Chris Barton, Lisa Bodell, Geoff Colvin, Daryl Davis, Suneel Gupta, Ron Insana, Katty Kay, Polly LaBarre, Nicole Malachowski, Ken Schmidt, and Bob Woodward.

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