Diversity of thought, innovation in ideas, and giving future generations a wider variety of role models and mentors–these are just some of the reasons the tech industry needs more women.
At Quantcast, we’re privileged to have women make up half of our executive leadership team, along with several other fabulous females on board leading change in the advertising industry, boosting tech-driven innovation, and supporting people company-wide on their path to personal and professional success.
In its latest initiative, the Quantcast Women’s Network (QWN) hosted a panel discussion on Authenticity in Leadership: Building Resilience and Channeling Self-Belief. The panel brought together several of our accomplished leaders, who shared their experiences with finding self-belief in the face of fear, as well as their lessons on how to channel that self-belief into resilience and leadership.
Here are the top 5 affirmative learnings on how to address and move past self-doubt:
- Back yourself and always remember your past achievements.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people; identify your values and what you can bring to the table instead.
- Spend time with positive people, and look for resources to help you keep a positive outlook on life.
- When times are tough, keep moving and doing what you’re doing, and things will always work themselves out in the end.
- Don’t let your failures define you. Reflect on the good as well as the bad, and learn to be at peace with yourself no matter what comes.
Our panelists dove deeper into their personal experiences to share further advice on how to develop self-confidence and lead with authenticity and empathy.
On overcoming fears and hesitancy, moving past imposter syndrome, and being an authentic leader
For me, imposter syndrome creeps into my life whenever I have to speak publicly. I tend to second-guess myself and wonder if I’m going to stumble over my words and if people actually want to listen to what I have to say. I overcome this by going into every speaking engagement as prepared as I can, reading up on the subject matter I’m discussing, and having my notes ready. I hold Murphy’s Law–anything that can go wrong will go wrong–in the back of my head always, and use that mantra to prepare myself for every possible scenario. Time and experience have helped me become more confident so my fears in this area are not as prevalent as before.
Constance Cannon Frazier, Quantcast Board Member and Principal at Cardinal Change Consulting
On a really rough day I had recently, my daughter reminded me of a piece of advice I’d once given her. That is, things always look worse at night, so don’t make any big decisions when it’s dark out. Just find a way to calm down and often things will become clearer the next day. I like to make lists, which help me to prioritise and break down problems. I also have a great professional network which I tap into often for advice on how to put things in perspective.
I’m a people pleaser and generally a helper, and I try to fix a problem whenever I see one. Leaning into that side of my personality helps me to look at challenges with curiosity, which then helps me to create ideas that solve the problem. The right opportunities have come my way from a combination of being open, being in the right place, and asking the right questions. I like exploring new concepts and bringing new ideas to the table. I just tell myself to go ahead and try.
Valerie Junger, Chief People and Places Officer, Quantcast
I felt very out of my depth two months ago when I joined the Quantcast business. Learning a new product and getting things done through people I hardly knew was made even more difficult with the pandemic hitting Australia again and forcing us all to work from home.
To manage a brand new team virtually, I doubled down and started getting to know everyone– find out what motivates them, where they need help, and what I could do for them. I had to ensure that I led all these conversations with genuine curiosity, empathy, and understanding.
There’s a South African proverb that goes: if you want to run fast, run alone. If you want to run far, run together. I’ve been fortunate enough to have built some solid relationships very quickly with people I know I can trust. These types of relationships help me stay authentic, move ahead, and get rid of the fear.
Ilda Jamison, Managing Director ANZ, Quantcast
On what makes a good leader
Beyond having a good grasp of the business’s operations and knowledge of the product, the difference between a good and great leader is what they bring to the table in terms of soft skills. For me, it’s about having the emotional empathy: to be able to see the world through someone else’s eyes, converse with them, and really understand where they’re coming from.
Another vital attribute is to have a calm mind. There are all kinds of emergencies and challenges that will surface all the time. Great leaders have what it takes to approach the problem with calmness, instead of being frantic and reactive, and this often extends to the team you lead and how the problem eventually gets solved.
A great leader combines the intellectual smarts they have with authenticity and approachability. It’s also equally important to show vulnerability when you’re a leader, and have fun when the occasion calls for it. It’s important to recognise how you feel at all times, and how your emotions or actions can affect those around you, because you have no idea what people could be going through. As a leader, having empathy and emotional intelligence helps me to understand my teams’ needs, and how I can adapt my approach to theirs, individually and as a group.
Leaders should be able to demonstrate executional excellence in what they do, and help their teams envision what’s needed to see a task through from beginning to end. I think it’s also really important to be an active participant of the team instead of standing off to the side and expecting everyone else to do the work.
On building resilience in the midst of change, empowering empathy within teams, and being heard in the room
I’m not sure that any one of us are ever really comfortable with change, especially the ones that are forced onto us. As a leader, part of what we need to mentally get used to is the idea of comfort in ambiguity, that is, accepting that you don’t always have the answers. I tend to lead collaboratively, and leverage the power of my team to find solutions to the challenges we face as a collective. I like lots of input from others, and I welcome all the ideas I receive.
It’s also important to be vulnerable in front of your team, acknowledge that you don’t know everything, and admit when you’re wrong.
People from historically excluded communities often have a feeling of invisibility in the workplace. I’ve had this experience myself many times as the only female, and often the only person of colour with a seat at the table. An example of this is where something I said was initially overlooked, but acknowledged when someone else says it later on. If you’re in a similar situation, one tactic is to speak up and say “Yes, that’s a really good point, similar to what I’ve said earlier.” That way, you’re acknowledging what other people have said but also avoid discrediting yourself.
And whilst I’m not afraid to speak up, it’s equally important to listen. And when you do get to a point where your voice is influential, remember to also bring in the voices of other people in that room. Remember that you were once that person who wasn’t heard, what others have done to help you grow, and pay it forward.
On investing in yourself to continue navigating change in the best possible way
Beyond all the professional development that I can get and advice from my networks, I like to take care of myself. Life is a marathon as they say, so I’m conscious of what I do, what I put into my body, and I try to stay active and healthy. I recently bought myself a Peloton bike, and I try to get on it three to four times a week. I take my dog out for a walk and reflect often. When things get overwhelming and stressful, I take a couple of minutes to focus solely on my breathing, away from my screen, and that’s really helped me to recollect myself before diving into the next thing on my list.
I believe in taking care of my body as well as my mind. I indulge my love of music and reading. In the morning, I like to read things that lift me up and get me started for the day, including words of affirmation, articles about motivation, work-life balance, and emotional intelligence.
From a professional standpoint, I learn so much from the people I coach and mentor. I constantly reach out to my networks, and they give me plenty of ideas. From a personal perspective, it’s all about the people for me. I spend time with people I can have a good laugh with and start every morning with loud, lively music.
Interested in Learning More?
For more on how Quantcast celebrates women in our industry, check out our Women’s History Month blog post on Finding Your Voice as a Leader. You can also find stories that other women in our business have shared on finding strength and why tenacity is the key to success for women in tech.