The Confidence Factor for Women: The Effects of Consistent Criticism (from women)

When women continue to criticize each other, there is never a clear winner or loser. However, in a world where professional women still have to deal with issues of sabotage from other women in leadership, I am always faced with the question of which side should I be on?

Here is the real debate …

When I commenced the Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership, I was sharply criticized in the beginning by women who felt they did not “qualify” to connect with my firm. I cannot tell you about half of the emails from women who called our firm a collaborative of “pompous and arrogant elite women” for our desire to support high level women, who often feel the effects of the professional glass ceiling at a rapid rate.

Do not jump to conclusion yet

On the other hand, as a woman with several advanced degrees and certifications, a successful career in business development and more, I know firsthand what it feels like to stand at every level, from the receptionist to the CEO of a global company. So as the critics roll in, many high level women wanted a space where they can have a sacred space to release their feelings of vulnerability and how the feeling was affecting their leadership style.

So as the receptionist was calling my firm a place for “pompous” women, the pompous women were suffering with confidence issues of their own. In the end, what side do you support?

Here is the point

There are people who will make you feel guilty about being an “over achiever.” I remember a time over a decade ago when my co-workers would laugh at me for going after certifications and seeking advancements in my career so I could eliminate my own glass ceiling. The whispers became louder as I would chase one opportunity after another while networking with decision makers. The further up you go, the more you are criticized for perusing your dreams rather than settling for the societal norm.

Women in leadership suffer with more confidence issues than you would believe. Society tries to make us feel guilty for our inability to settle for mini-vans and soccer games rather than perusing the corner office. We are criticized for being “too masculine” rather than being liked in the workplace. I often say that leadership for women can be a lonely place where your biggest critics only admonish you from the outside, without knowing how you continue to strive on the inside.


There are no real winners when it comes to confidence. Before judging successful women and thinking that you cannot relate, think again. Successful high level women need support from every professional level. Yes, they may be a little more guarded, but when you are always criticized for rejecting ordinary, you feel the need watch every conversation.

I am always hopeful that all women will level the playing field so the work of inclusion experts can be received. All women need support, but you must be intentional that on your journey, never assume anyone is pompous or arrogant. The consistent separation of the “haves” vs the “have nots” is only an assumption as all women HAVE confidence issues.

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