5 Ways to Develop Credibility as a Woman in a Corporate Role 

According to a KPMG study, 75% of women in executive positions have experienced impostor syndrome – which involves feelings of doubt that one’s accomplishments are legitimate – during their careers. 85% perceive this as a common experience for all women – not just executives. 

Although impostor syndrome can certainly be challenging to navigate in today’s corporate world, women can overcome it by building confidence as well as workplace relationships.  

Here are five ways you, as a woman, can develop credibility in the workplace. 

  1. Identify and leverage your strengths. 

While it’s important to improve weaknesses, leveraging the skills you are strong on can allow you to quickly build credibility. Whether that means demonstrating expertise in a certain subject, taking initiative to debug a program for a peer, or using any other strength to accomplish a goal, it is likely that you will be seen as someone who is able to take on impactful, challenging work. 

  1. Show “over preparedness” and leadership at meetings. 

It may seem obvious to prepare for meetings you lead or attend. Distributing an agenda, verbally establishing the focus, and taking notes will ensure time is used wisely. But, taking additional steps to prepare for a meeting will allow you to display leadership, regardless of your job title. Properly anticipating questions, conducting an ice breaker to build team rapport, and making documents meeting-friendly (e.g., using symbols to draw attention to certain notes) are examples of small but impactful steps you can take to be a team player. 

  1. Be assertive. 

Assertive does not mean aggressive. It’s important to be direct about your needs to supervisors and exert confidence while doing so. This can be achieved by being clear and concise in verbal and written communication, regularly sharing goals and areas of concern with supervisors, and standing up for what you believe in – even if that means challenging others’ ideas. 

Challenging recommendations can certainly be made in a respectful manner. The key is to acknowledge the original thought while simultaneously bringing attention to your thoughts. Consistently doing this can build confidence and lead to appropriate boundaries between you and your colleagues. 

  1. Form networks of trusted female colleagues and allies. 

The value of having a group of allies who are invested in your success should not be underestimated. People who can take part in your support group include family, friends, peers, managers, and anyone else you trust to provide valuable advice. While it would be useful to have women in this group so you have people you can directly relate with, an ally can identify as any gender and have any other identity.  

Establishing a network can be done in a variety of different ways, and the network does not have to be strictly professional. Joining committees at work, having lunch with different people every week, and connecting with professionals with similar interests on LinkedIn are great ways to do this. 

  1. Practice self-care. 

Lastly, recognize that feelings of impostor syndrome and doubt can arise without notice. Knowing how to effectively manage these feelings is essential for success at work and overall fulfillment in life. Being ambitious and wanting to quickly build credibility can lead to burnout – it is also crucial to identify signs of burnout and take breaks as necessary. 

For additional career resources, visit the Center for Career Development’s Women’s Affinity Community webpage.  

By Taylor Czmyr
Taylor Czmyr