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Lloyd’s provided a stunning backdrop for our full-to-capacity Warrior Women at War leadership event held in partnership with ABF The Soldiers’ Charity on Wednesday 25 September.
The theme was to compare and contrast Army leadership with that in the corporate world and to discover what, if anything, each could learn from the other.
The Keynote, delivered by Major General Susan Ridge, set the tone for the evening and outlined her experience, as a lawyer, within the Army. “Whilst businesses had shareholders,” she said “the Army needed to satisfy the demands of multiple stakeholders.”
She also highlighted that in the Army it was always about “us” and not about “me”, that the ethos was one that welcomed challenge, where leadership required judgement and humility, knowing when to give people their head and when to give help, supervision and training.
In response to a question about whether the corporate world could learn from the Army’s values (Courage, Discipline, Respect for Others, Integrity, Loyalty and Selfless Commitment) Panellist, Commandant Philippa Lorimer MBE, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (PRVC) reflected that one of the big differences between her experience in the Army and her work in private sector defence sales was the lack of “honest” communication. She said that it had taken her time to adjustment to a world where what you said didn’t necessarily happen and you knew it wasn’t going to happen.
Annette Andrews, HR Director, Lloyd’s spoke of her experience having moved from country to country as a child and how that helped her when she worked overseas and managed teams in other countries. It had enabled her to quickly adjust to new situations, to “read” people and understand other cultures.
Claire Bowler, Partner, DWF who has three young children, aged 2, 4, and 6 spoke about how flexible and agile working had helped her to progress within her career. “Within a 40-45 year career, it’s OK to take your foot off the pedal now and again,” she advised. She also encouraged women to be strategic about how they used their time when managing a high level career and family and to be selective about when to be present at work.
During the Q&A session that followed, there was much discussion about flexible working – its importance and how to ask for it (base on facts, on outputs rather than emotion) and the need for mentors, sponsors and role models.
Gwen Rhys, CEO Women in the City reminded everyone that sometimes they needed to be their own role model, citing Condoleezza Rice, former US Secretary of State who said:
Search for role models you can look up to and people who take an interest in your career. But here’s an important warning: you don’t have to have mentors or role models who look like you. Had I been waiting for a Black, female, Soviet specialist mentor, I would still be waiting. Most of my mentors have been old white men, because they were the ones who dominated my field.
Gwen added that many women felt there weren’t role models in their business that they could look up to an emulate and suggested that rather than trying to find “the one”, women should make a composite role model of the “best” traits, characteristics, behaviours of several women and men.
The post-event networking was lively, with lots of ideas and suggestions being exchanged. One idea was to set up Mentoring Groups, rather like Tutorial Groups, to encourage male mentors, who may be reluctant to mentor women 1-2-1, to participate.
|In partnership with||Sponsored by|
Warrior Women at Work is a unique, interactive Women’s Leadership event designed by Women in the City in partnership with ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. The evening will bring together senior female leaders from a variety of backgrounds to share, discuss, compare and contrast their leadership challenges.
Our Keynote Speaker will be Major General Susan Ridge, the first female to hold the rank of major general in the British Army. A solicitor, she served as Director General of the Army Legal Services Branch from September 2015 to July 2019.
Susan will be joined by a panel made up of:
- Annette Andrews, HR Director, Lloyd’s
- Claire Bowler, Partner, Head of the Insurance Sector, Head of International Claims Team, DWF and a Women in the City, Woman of Achievement Category Award Winner
- Commandant Philippa Lorimer MBE, Commanding Officer, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps)
|Date:||25 September 2019|
|Location:||The Old Library, Lloyd’s, One Lime Street, EC3M 7HA|
|Time:||18.30 – 20.30|
|18.30||Mix & Mingle Reception|
|19.00||Welcome and Introductions|
|Keynote Speaker and Panel Interview|
This event is open to women and men. Refreshments will be served.
The evening is brought to you in partnership with:
|ABF The Soldiers’ Charity was formed in 1944, at the height of World War Two. Its purpose has not changed since that day: to ensure that all soldiers, veterans and their immediate families can live a life of independence and dignity.
While there is a British Army, there will be The Soldiers’ Charity.
And is sponsored by:
A recent study by learning & development training provider, The Hub Events, has revealed that women in the UK are experiencing an epidemic of self-doubt.
90% of UK women admitted to feeling inadequate or incompetent at work, and 73% don’t feel they deserve their current success.
Of these, 17% said that they experience these feelings often or all the time.
These findings are particularly staggering as the responses came from 1,000 UK adults who are currently employed and have at least 3 years’ experience in their field of work.
‘Imposter Syndrome’ is a psychological pattern which causes chronic self-doubt and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, often despite repeated success and accomplishments.
Of the women surveyed, only 27% were aware of ‘Imposter Syndrome’, however most respondents said they had experienced its effects.
Over half of the women surveyed (51%) admitted to experiencing the kinds of intrusive thoughts that come with ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
Of those experiencing intrusive thoughts;
- 37% believe it is only due to luck/chance that they have achieved success
- 1 in 4 (24%) think that one day their boss or colleagues will realise they are under qualified (despite experience/qualifications)
- 1 in 4 (24%) think they only got a job or promotion because the workplace was ‘short on candidates’
- 15% don’t think they deserve the praise or compliments that they receive about their success at work
How do we stop the crisis of self-doubt?
Good mental health is crucial to a happy and successful career and personal life, and sufferers of ‘Imposter Syndrome’ may be at increased risk of anxiety – so what can employers do to eliminate it?
- 3 in 5 (60%) respondents want to see more regular positive & helpful feedback on staff performance
- 44% want employers to create a more open environment where staff are encouraged to talk about the challenges they face
- 43% believe providing adequate coaching & mentors for staff will help
- 2 in 5 (41%) want to ensure management staff are trained to assist with their employees’ anxieties and self-doubt
- 35% think employers should provide access to mental health services
Christine Macdonald, Director of The Hub Events, said;
Despite having relevant skills, experience and qualifications, some women still feel overwhelmed by the feeling that they will one day be exposed as a ‘fraud’. The burden of this worry can end up holding them back.
Simply talking about the fact that ‘Imposter Syndrome’ exists, and that it’s a lot more common than we think, could be a huge relief to people who are gripped by these self-doubts.
Organisations can help a lot by encouraging openness, opportunities to develop and realistic expectations. They can also help by ensuring their management staff are all fully trained to mentor and assist employees and understand the importance of positive feedback.
Nearly three quarters of women working in law experience imposter syndrome compared with just over half of those working in construction
The overwhelming feeling of crippling self-doubt and dread known as Imposter Syndrome has impacted a whopping 62% of people at work, according to a report by Access Commercial Finance. The survey of over 3000 adults in the UK shows over two-thirds of women (66%) have suffered from imposter syndrome compared to over half of men (56%) within the last 12 months. This raises a significant question: are women more likely to experience feeling inadequate in the workplace?
In light of the study, Instant Offices delves into why many women experience this adverse phenomenon, which UK industries have the highest ratio of self-doubters and how employees can beat imposter syndrome at work.
Despite evidence of success, women experiencing this paralysing self-doubt are more likely to believe they are intellectual frauds. This level of stress – waiting to be found out by peers – can lead to anxiety, burnout and increased unhappiness among everyone from entrepreneurs to employees moving up the ladder.
As research suggests, men suffer 10% less than women, and when considering why women sometimes experience imposter syndrome at a higher rate than men, factors like workplace inequality and the pay gap may come into play.
Statistics from YouGov reveal that, when asked whether they have had the opportunity to lead on a project at work, only 44% of women said yes, compared to 59% of men. Women are also less likely to have experienced a pay rise or a bonus not connected to promotion, at only 40% compared to 53% of men. In addition, women say they are also more likely to be asked about their personal lives compared to men.
What Causes Imposter Syndrome at Work?
Imposter syndrome can severely impact career progression and cause negativity at work. When surveyed on the reasons for experiencing crippling self-doubt in the workplace, these were the top four causes:
38% – Self-generated self-doubt
23% – Being criticised
20% – Having to ask for help
16% – Self-comparisons to high achieving colleagues
It’s not just employees who are impacted, a study by AXA PPP Healthcare shows one in five small business owners admitted to suffering from imposter syndrome and being convinced someone else could do a better job of running their business.
UK Industries with the Highest Percentage of Self-Doubters
Imposter syndrome is more prolific in some industries compared to others. The same study of over 3000 UK adults revealed industries in which employees have experienced intense feelings of self-doubt in the last 12 months.
87% – Creative arts and design
79% – Environment and agriculture
79% – Information research and analysis
74% – Law
73% – Media and internet
45% – Leisure, sport and tourism
54% – Property and construction
55% – Engineering & manufacturing
55% – Insurance
57% – Retail
Turning Imposter Syndrome Around
Even though so many people have experienced imposter syndrome, the good news is that it’s not a permanent condition but rather a reaction to a set of circumstances, unrealistic self-expectation and stress. Some of the most popular suggestions on ways to turn it around include the following:
Accept Praise And Know Your Worth
Don’t shy away from praise and compliments. Accept your achievements and if need be, write them down. When you try to talk yourself out of feeling confident in your role, all the proof is on paper. Knowing your worth means allowing your work to speak for itself and letting others see it too.
Stop Thinking Like an Imposter
Learn to recognise self-defeating thought patterns and replace them with more positive affirmations. The only way to stop feeling like an imposter is to stop thinking of yourself as one.
Don’t Seek Perfection
Stop believing that if you don’t excel at every facet of your job that you’re a failure at all of it. Facing challenges and losses is a key part of growth, so recognise that you don’t have to be good at everything.
Know You Are Not Alone
Imposter syndrome tends to be the domain of overachievers, while underachievers tend to internalise less when faced with failure. If you’re constantly worried about not being good enough, chances are you’re in good company – most successful people constantly over analyse themselves!
Speaking from experience, Jodie Harris, Head of Content & Digital PR at MediaVision commented,
The feeling of thinking someone is going to come in and call you out on your experience, your achievements and put you in a league much lower than you are currently working at is very real. Imposter Syndrome can happen at any time in your career.
From being an intern to being in the boardroom, questioning your place at the table can be disruptive to your progress and your confidence. One piece of advice I always tell my teams and myself is that your career did not come by chance, and where you are now and where you aim to be is justified. Know your worth and have conviction with your career goals. Success isn’t a lottery ticket, it’s earnt.
It’s about what managers and leaders do everyday
The catalyst for elevating women in organisations comes down to what managers and leaders do every day according to a new study published by talent development and transition company Lee Hecht Harrison. The daily behaviours of the people managers who are known champions of female talent have the greatest impact on an organisation’s ability to get and keep women in their leadership pipelines.
The new study from LHH points to the frustration organisations are experiencing in their ability to address this issue and highlights what’s required to create the inclusive workplaces needed for women to advance. The findings show that 58% of companies believed advancing women is a critical business issue yet 76% of those organisations were unsatisfied with their ability to demonstrate the individual actions, organisational practices and cultural attributes that cultivate gender diversity and elevate women in leadership.
The top five behaviours that people leaders demonstrate to champion female talent that make a real difference are:
- Provide coaching and feedback that builds business acumen
- Support flexibility to manage work schedules or location of work
- Provide equal access to meaningful stretch projects that are tied to strategic business objectives
- Give females exposure and profile to senior leaders and decision makers
- Recruit and promote from a diverse pool of candidates
Caroline Pfeiffer Marinho, Executive Vice President, EMEA for Lee Hecht Harrison, said,
Champions of female talent were twice as likely to demonstrate these behaviours to a very high degree compared to other people managers. We know that leaders shape culture. And when you need your culture to shift, you need to hold your leaders accountable to act in the desired ways.
Pfeiffer Marinho added,
In times of talent scarcity, you simply cannot choose to ignore or even exclude 50% of a potential talent pool – woman. Organisations have been investing in women and in organisational practices for decades, but with little results. Knowing that one of the key catalysts for elevating women is the behaviours of people leaders, organisations now have a clear business imperative to develop more champions of female talent, who shape an inclusive culture, making it possible for women, and consequently businesses, to thrive.