Helping women tap into their confidence and competence was the focus of Carol Vernon’s session, “Fine-Tuning Your Leadership Presence by Aligning Your Competency with Your Confidence.”
The session, sponsored by SMACNA’s informal Women in Construction Leadership Council, featured Vernon and her four-step framework focusing on the “Four Rs” of leadership including reputation, relationships, results, and resiliency.
At the start of the session, more than 70 participants split into roundtable groups to discuss confidence, specifically how women are perceived and how women display confidence. Confidence comes from within, she noted, and changes people’s perception of you. One participant declared, “confidence is the way a person owns the room.”
In her presentation, Vernon discussed how individuals have 100 percent control over their confidence and 100 percent control over their competence. However, these two need to be aligned to break through barriers. With regard to women specifically, many times, she said, women hold themselves back and play it safe.
Vernon cited a 2016 research study that highlighted the difference between men and women when pursing an opportunity. In general, women will only pursue a better opportunity if they felt they matched 100 percent of the required qualifications. A man, the study found, would apply for the same position if he had only 60 percent of the skills needed.
Vernon suggested that women should ask themselves what they are doing to hold themselves back and what they can do to pursue new opportunities. She used the “four Rs framework” to explain how individuals can develop an executive presence and achieve success.
For most of the session, Vernon focused on the first two “Rs.” First, she discussed reputation and noted that, “it is important to be intentional about reputation.” Individuals should consider how they want to be perceived and figure out a way to own their expertise.
The second “R,” relationships, is one of the most important factors, she said, because this is how people build understanding and positive relations with colleagues and customers.
Finally, Vernon touched on the last two “Rs:” results and resiliency. “At the end of the day,” she said, “it’s all about results.” And women must be resilient when making these kinds of changes. “We are not going to be perfect all the time,” noted Vernon.