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3 things women can do to build their confidence in handling conflict

If you are a woman who avoids conflict wherever possible, you are not alone. Many women struggle with the same challenges and barriers that prevent them from achieving their goals and advancing their careers. But you don't have to settle for less than what you deserve.


Conflict is a natural part of life and can arise in any situation, whether it be personal or professional. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that women are far more likely to say they will go out of their way to avoid conflict than men are.  Unfortunately, avoiding conflict can mean they miss out on opportunities and it is also a contributor to the Gender Pay Gap.


For women, dealing with conflict can be particularly challenging due to societal expectations and gender stereotypes. However, there are several things that women can do to build their confidence and effectively handle conflict.


1.     Embrace negotiation: Many women lack confidence in negotiation.  Often this is because we see negotiation as the kind of macho negotiations we see in the movies and on TV. However, learning to negotiate effectively is about building empathy and collaboration into the negotiation discussion, something that women tend to do more naturally than men. By embracing a different understanding of negotiation, women can find that they already have the skills to step into tough conversations in a way that will help them and future generations of women.

2.     Boost emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence involves an awareness of one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. Once again, this is often something that comes more naturally to women than men.  Recognising the power of understanding emotions can boost a woman’s confidence in negotiating. If emotional intelligence is not your strength, it is possible to improve this through mindfulness.

3.     Use objective measures: When making requests, women should reference relevant data and examples that would be difficult for the other side to ignore. Preparing your supporting materials ahead of the negotiation will help you to feel more prepared and build your confidence.

Even though women may feel that they are not good at dealing with conflict, changing the perception of conflict as a problem to being the existence of a problem to be solved can reduce the fear.  By embracing negotiation, boosting emotional intelligence, and using objective measures, women can build their confidence and effectively deal with conflict. These strategies can help women to assert their needs, reduce anxiety about negotiating, and increase the likelihood of successful outcomes.

Of course, while this may sound easy, sometimes a little support is needed to give you a bit of a confidence boost. If you are looking for some support for a conflict or negotiation that is important to your progress, our Negotiation GP consultation may be just the thing to move you along towards success.

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