The confidence gap

30th January 2016 |   Journal Of Sales Transformation

Trang Chu

Trang Chu is an executive leadership coach and founder of Tallgrass Way where she works with high-profile executives in investment banking, private equity and law firms. Previously, she was a managing director at Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch. She explains how success correlates as closely to confidence as competence. She can be contacted on

Companies that embrace diversity tend to be more creative, more dynamic and, ultimately, more successful. Research3 shows such companies are 41% ahead of the sector’s average in terms of return on equity and 56% ahead in terms of EBIT. Yet women continue to be underrepresented at senior levels. One of the reasons for this is unconscious bias.

We are all biased to a certain extent. We naturally gravitate towards those who look like us, think like us and come from a similar background to us, so it is unsurprising that women find it hard to break into the upper echelons of management if the current board is made up of predominantly white middle-aged men.

To that extent, the boys club or network does still exist in lots of guises and is difficult to break down. It’s not only men who need to be aware of their unconscious biases – women too should reflect on their ingrained beliefs to see whether they are actually holding themselves back from reaching the top. With relatively few women in key roles, you may unconsciously doubt that you have the required abilities and strengths to succeed.