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The silents may say more than talkatives

How to succeed in the eternal internal struggle with lack of self-confidence? This is what was discussed in the next episode of the podcast series Women Leaders Beyond Borders, which introduces elite foreign female managers working in the Czech Republic. Monika Balcerzak, Reinsurance Accounting Manager at VIG Re and Valentina Stranieri, Member of the Board of Directors and Head of People & Culture at UniCredit Bank, Czech Republic and Slovakia were guests of Jaroslav Kramer. 


You can watch the episode on YOUTUBE or listen to the episode on SPOTIFY and APPLE PODCAST.

Women Leaders Beyond Borders, FinŽeny

A barrier that hinders career advancement more often for women than men is a lack of self-confidence. How have those who have managed to climb to the top of the career ladder dealt with it? Valentina Stranieri mentions that the most effective tips were given to her by a male colleague who is a self-proclaimed fan of female leadership and is well aware of women's tendency to underestimate themselves. „The lack of self-confidence is continuously pushing most of the women to achieve every kind of success and to express better performances. Every time I had the chance to discuss with other colleagues, being close to a career step, or when deciding about their future, I always try to provide also some personal examples, even from my own experience, because if you ask me if I was feeling completely ready before taking any of the challenges, I was not, I knew I was not fully ready and I could feel not really ready. The first time I came to Prague to the building of the bank, I said to myself, come on, are you really willing to take this challenge in case they are going to choose you? And then some mechanism starts to work telling me, yes, go on, you're doing it. Other people were doing it before and so you're doing, and I think even sharing the component of doubt and worry you have during the past that brings you to such a decision can be useful for other people because it's happening to anyone,.“


Monika Balcerzak follows up with the fact that in life you need to be prepared for change. „If you apply for any job position and you don't have to meet every criterion. You don´t have to be ready for 100 per cent, but you are a good candidate and that is enough,“ she promotes simple principle and adds that if it is accompanied by a slight nervousness, it is a sign that it is a good opportunity.


Quality in the shadow

Introversion, lack of self-confidence, speech impediment, poor tolerance to attention, all usually lead to the same result - these „cornered“ people can give others the impression of being less engaged or underperforming. Yet they may be the ones whose work ethic exceeds others. And it is often these quiet workers who may have something to say on the matter rather than the loose talkers.


Valentina Stranieri has been addressing this topic her entire career. „Even doing this job, which has a strong component of people interaction by myself, by my personal attitude, I'm not so keen to stay, for example, on stage. So based on this personal characteristic I have, I always try to also consider people in front of me under this lens. What if the people I am listening to are not the only ones that would have something to say? Because some others are maybe just a bit shy. I really feel as one of my main responsibilities to look for hidden talent, that is in every single individual I'm working with,“ she says. 


Monika Balcerzak has a very similar experience. „The shyest in the team mostly are very technical skilled and very professional. They just struggle with being in front and show the capabilities. I always try to slowly show them possible way out of the shadow. It's a long process, but I still think it's worth it,“ Polish manager says. If it succeeds, she says, these people can become real leaders, but of a different type than the extroverted ones. „These leaders are the ones that others really listen to and follow,“ she concludes.


More information about the podcast can be found on the website HERE or on the podcast's LinkedIn profile HERE.

the podcast series Women Leaders Beyond Borders

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