How to build confidence for women

How to Build Confidence as a Woman I Psych Central

Practicing self-compassion and learning to build boundaries are just some of the ways you can help boost your self-esteem.

Cultivating higher self-esteem is important as it can benefit your well-being and positively affect your relationships, health, and career.

Women can have a particularly difficult time developing and maintaining self-confidence. They tend to focus more on caring for others rather than themselves.

This can leave some women with no time for self-development or self-care.

So, how can women develop self-confidence? Learning what causes your low self-esteem can help.

Language matters

Sex and gender exist on a spectrum. We use “women” in this article to reflect the term assigned at birth. But gender is solely about how you identify yourself, independent of your physical body.

Acknowledging the reasons behind your low self-esteem is a good first step to becoming more confident.


Rumination is a continuation of negative thinking patterns. It can include mulling over past mistakes and pessimistic thoughts regarding the future.

A 2019 research paper found a direct link between low self-esteem and self-critical rumination.

Negative self-talk

Engaging in thoughts about perceived shortcomings, self-criticism, and self-blame can fuel the flames of rumination.

Negative self-talk can then reinforce low levels of self-esteem, which continues the cycle.

Childhood trauma

A 2021 study linked childhood abuse and bullying to lower levels of self-esteem.

In the study, more than 3,600 university students were sent a survey. Researchers found a significant positive correlation between childhood trauma and low self-esteem. But the study was limited and more research is needed.

Abusive relationships

If you experienced childhood sexual abuse, you might be vulnerable to revictimization in adulthood, according to research from 2017. This can lead to symptoms of complex trauma, which include a distorted self-image.

Regardless of your childhood trauma history, abusive relationships can take a toll on self-esteem at any age.

Sociocultural factors

Several sociocultural factors can also affect a woman’s self-esteem.

  • Violence: A 2015 review indicates that violence against women, especially minority women, is disproportionately high. Women have a higher chance of experiencing intimate partner violence and sexual assault in their lifetime — all traumatic events that can lead to issues with self-esteem.
  • Diet: The prevalence of diet culture can contribute to the disproportionate number of eating disorders and body image issues among women, according to a 2016 study. Objectification in media can also cause women to seek excessive external validation from others for their appearance rather than building self-esteem that incorporates both external and internal qualities.
  • Dating: Hookup culture and double standards in dating may also negatively affect a woman’s self-esteem, especially since some women may be socialized to not prioritize their own needs in relationships and may be prone to people-pleasing. A 2020 study revealed that women who engaged in casual sex for non-autonomous reasons (such as wanting to please others rather than for their own enjoyment) were associated with low self-esteem and greater depression in women than in men.
  • Racism: Women of color are at a particular higher chance of experiencing racism, racial microaggressions, racial stereotyping, and fetishization — all of which can affect self-esteem, especially in the workplace and in relationships.
  • Prejudice: Women may also have internalized prejudice and be socially conditioned to compare themselves with other women. These unhealthy comparisons can lead to lower self-esteem.

There are strategies you can try that may help boost your self-confidence.

Address negative self-talk and show yourself self-compassion

It may be helpful to take an inventory of your daily thought patterns. Pay particular attention to ruminative thoughts regarding the past or pessimistic thoughts regarding the future, as well as self-disparaging statements.

  • What negative automatic thoughts arise (e.g., “I shouldn’t have done that”)?
  • What healthy, balanced alternatives can you slowly begin to replace these thoughts with (e.g., “Nobody’s perfect. I’m doing my best.”)?

Build mastery and agency

Whether it’s learning a new skill, enrolling in a class, or taking small steps toward your dreams, building mastery and self-actualization are vital ways to grow and maintain self-esteem.

When you feel capable of achieving your goals, you own your agency in a society that may have taught you to play small and discouraged you from honoring your true desires.

Engage in body-mind healing modalities

Promote agency and mastery over your mind and body with mindfulness yoga or meditative practices such as a daily body scan or quiet walks in nature.

Try to find an exercise routine you enjoy, whether it’s a Zumba class or dancing to your favorite music.

A 2022 study linked regular exercise to greater self-esteem, self-efficacy, and body awareness in adults. But more research is needed.

Cut back on people-pleasing and detach from toxic relationships that drain you

It can be difficult to maintain high self-esteem when your boundaries are being violated or when you’re forgoing your needs and wants to please others.

Slowly begin to detach from interactions that are taking up excessive time and energy and practice saying no.

Ask yourself, “Do I really want to spend my time with this person? Or do I feel obligated to do so?”

Challenge your own internalized misogyny and social stereotypes

Identify any harmful societal beliefs that may have been instilled in you that are still holding you back.

Rather than competing with others or disparaging yourself, practice appreciating your unique qualities and embracing your irreplaceability. It may be helpful to write down a list of qualities you admire about yourself and the ones others notice and appreciate in you.

Getting in touch with who you are and the unique traits you bring to the table can increase self-appreciation and self-esteem.

If you identify as a woman, your self-esteem can be affected by many individual and sociocultural factors.

It’s important to identify your unique risk factors and engage in activities that promote positive self-talk, healthy boundaries, nourishing relationships, and self-compassion.

If you want to know more about how to build your self-esteem, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. They can help point out where low self-esteem shows up in your life and guide you toward positive change.

They can also help you identify the cause of your low self-esteem, so you can create new thought patterns and become more confident.

If you’re unsure where to start, you can check out Psych Central’s hub on finding mental health and support.


Shahida Arabi, MA, is a summa cum laude graduate of Columbia University and best-selling author of three books, including “Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare and Power.” Her new book, “The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Toxic People,” published by New Harbinger Publications, is available in all major bookstores. Her viral articles have garnered over 18 million views and her work has been featured on Psychology Today, Salon, Bustle, Psych Central, The Huffington Post, Inc., Origin, Thought Catalog, VICE, and The New York Daily News. She’s currently a graduate student at Harvard University conducting research on romantic relationships with individuals with narcissistic and psychopathic traits.

30 Confidence Boosting Tips For Women, Tested

Illustrated by Assa Ariyoshi.

"Stop hunching over like you’re trying to fit your body through a tube," my posture coach encouraged me as I tried to feign confidence in front of the gaggle of strangers watching me.   

Since the age of five, and possibly even before, I can remember being told to be more confident. People would encourage me to step into this head-held-high, strong-backboned version of myself – a sort of Anya 2.0, waiting just a few steps ahead. But what they never actually told me was how to get there. 

According to a report commissioned by Dove's Self-Esteem Project, entitled "Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem", seven in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way when it comes to their appearance, performance in school and relationships with family and friends. 


The statistics are equally bleak as we reach adulthood. In 2019, research carried out by My Confidence Matters and the University of Glasgow found that 79% of women lack confidence at work as well as in other areas of life. 

Six months ago I decided I wanted to learn how to foster more confidence in myself. I asked confident friends, colleagues, family members and even an ex-teacher what they felt had most encouraged their self-confidence. I ended up with a list of 30 suggestions and, over the next few months, I diligently tried them all. Which is how I ended up at a 'posture perfecting' class, 'resetting my scapula' so my chest could bloom outwards in what I know was meant to feel like a display of confidence. 

I never went back to that class, although my friend Rosie, who suggested it, said it had helped her lead meetings at work. I did however keep moving forwards with the other 29 suggestions. Some were straightforward: get your hair done. Some were exhilarating: try boxing. Others were so terrifying that my stomach curdled in the weeks running up to them (stand-up comedy class, I’m looking at you).

Start small

Let's start with the easier suggestions. These are the ones I saved for days when I felt small, when coercing myself into the bigger exercises (like attending a party alone) was categorically Not Going To Happen.

On these days, I practised low-lift exercises like reciting affirmations, assuming power poses in the mirror and listening to a hypnosis recording (this one from Audible is great). These didn’t require me to step out and roar at the world, instead encouraging a gentle rebellion against my negative self-talk.


I found some success with each one. Although cheesy, reciting affirmations was my favourite. Each morning for several weeks I would think about how I was feeling about myself; far too often it was a variation of I’m not good enough. I would then create a positive affirmation from it; something like I am good enough and I can do anything.

I would write this thought down, stand in front of the mirror, look myself in the eye and repeat it over and over for five minutes. It’s not enough simply to say the words – you need to say them in such a way that if someone were standing beside you, they would believe you meant it.  

"Using affirmations can retrain your subconscious to believe something new," mindset coach Poppy Delbridge tells me. "If you consciously 'talk' to yourself in a new way with repetition, you can disrupt old mind chatter by creating new neural pathways (the pathways through which our nervous system communicates and controls our body) in your brain and retraining the way you think, and therefore act."

How do I look?

Various people suggested changing up my appearance as a way to foster confidence, particularly when it comes to dating or making new friends.

"I always get my hair done when I’m going into something new, whether it’s a date or a job interview," an old schoolfriend told me, reminding me that the post-breakup haircut is a cliché for a reason. "Who broke your heart?" my hairdresser once asked when I demanded he turn my long blonde hair into a chocolate bob.


Getting my hair done is nothing new to me as a paid-up member of the bleach club, but this time I paid attention to how I felt as I left the salon: the way I swayed my hips more in time with the buoyant swish of my hair, how I stood a little taller and smiled a little wider at other people and at my own reflection in shop windows as I passed.

Did I feel more confident? Yes. Did it last? Yes, it did, for at least a week. "This is why people get weekly blowdries," my friend told me when I explained the fading feeling of confidence, and for the first in my life I understood why. 

We all make snap judgements on first impressions, and we know others do the same to us, so it stands to reason that putting our best foot – or hair – forwards and taking control of our image is the most immediate change we can effect in ourselves. 

Reaching out to others

I really connected with the suggestion to help others. It came from a particularly self-assured ex-teacher of mine. "If you can’t do something for yourself," she told me, "do it for others and it will soon come."

Of course it’s generally just good to be kind, but the psychology behind her comment fascinated me. Helping those in need activates the mesolimbic system, the portion of the brain responsible for feelings of reward and happiness. So by contributing to the greater good, you can build self-esteem and create a positive relationship with yourself.


Another unexpectedly successful suggestion came from a colleague who recommended I reach out to five people who inspire me and invite them for coffee. And so I did, feeling distinctly like I was about to ruin my career. All five replied.

Bar one who had moved out of town, I met them all for coffee and am still in contact with two. I received several big article commissions from the exercise – one for a publication I’d wanted to contribute to for a long time – and lots of really useful advice about my career. 

The most confidence-affirming part of the exercise, though, was that not one of the people I met was the Miranda Priestly-type character I had imagined. Several seemed more nervous than me and almost all of them asked "Was I helpful?" at the end of our meeting. 

The deep end

The terrifying pinnacle of the whole process was the stand-up comedy class suggested by my cousin, who used to do small stand-up gigs. "If you can show your metaphorical knickers on stage and get through it, you can show them anywhere," she told me.  

I signed up to a beginners' course (£75 with The Comedy School) and arrived a few weeks later, wobbling from the mouth down, breathing heavily in terror.

Contrary to what I expected, there was no one waiting to shove me onstage under an unforgiving spotlight. At least not straightaway. Instead, we talked about how to turn a story into a successful anecdote. It was relaxed and friendly – but then the session ended with each of us performing a short sketch.


I forced myself to go first to get it over with and was met with laughs and stunted silences in equal measure. But when my five minutes were up, I realised that I didn’t care how my jokes had gone, I was just thankful it was over.  

This was one of my main takeaways from the whole experiment. You can’t control others' emotions any more than the next person but you should still get up and speak your truth. Trust me, once you’ve stood on a stage and tried to make a room full of people laugh, nothing will ever be as scary.

Going forwards

Perhaps my biggest learning from my quest for confidence is that it’s not about the specific things that you do but how often you do them. Confidence is not something we attain and then bank forever; we need to continually work at it as we evolve, as circumstances change and life bends in directions we never saw coming. It is a relationship that we will work on for the rest of our lives.

Confidence coach Lucy Baker confirms as much. "Confidence can be built relatively quickly but like any form of self-development it is different for each individual and depends on how much work that individual is prepared to put in." She says it's important to understand what's preventing you from feeling confident so that you can "work through what’s holding [you] back, or even eradicate it entirely. Then, from a clean slate, [you] can build confidence up. "


I can’t predict what the future will throw at me or you or any of us, but I do know that doing everything we can to meet it with confidence is better than any crystal ball. 

There’s a lot of convincing to do in this world; let’s convince ourselves first.

The 30 things I tried to boost my confidence 

1. Joined a posture class 
2. Took a public speaking session
3. Attended a stand-up comedy course
4. Practised power poses
5. Recited affirmations
6. Got my hair done
7. Read You are a Badass by Jen Sincero 
8. Practised naked yoga (I tried this one at home)
9. Saw a confidence coach
10. Spoke to a comparison coach
11. Went to boxing classes
12. Went to a party on my own
13. Emailed five people I look up to
14. Wore matching underwear 
15. Went to a beauty masterclass
16. Wrote down limiting beliefs 
17. Read Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers
18. Worked to define my purpose – my 'why'
19. Adopted the 'fake it 'til you make it' ethos
20. Wore high heels
21. Signed up to play netball (spoiler: I was rubbish)
22. Took credit for my achievements
23. Accepted compliments rather than batting them away
24. Made lots of eye contact
25. Did something I’d put off for a while
26. Listened to a hypnosis recording
27. Controlled my scroll (identified who made me feel bad about myself on social media and then muted or unfollowed them)
28. Helped others 
29. Took dance classes
30. Went on holiday on my own (in the UK)

3 most trouble-free ways to gain confidence in a person

Scientists have not yet given a clear definition of trust. We understand it as a positive relationship between people, containing confidence in the decency and goodwill of each other. So, in order to gain confidence in a person, one should be decent and friendly.

However, the possession of these qualities in itself does not guarantee that you will be blindly trusted. Certain communication skills are required, including verbal and non-verbal techniques, to gain trust. nine0003

1 - make eye contact

A short look directly into the eyes of the interlocutor creates a positive impression. If you want to inspire confidence in someone, look them in the eye. Hold your gaze for 1-2 seconds, no more, since longer eye contact is perceived as aggression, an invasion of personal space and an attempt to ingratiate yourself.

Having sent a friendly signal in this way, accompany it with a slight smile. If you smile back, the first step towards rapprochement has been taken. nine0003

To enter into trust - to incline to one's side, to arrange, to enter into mercy. (S.I. Ozhegov). When they try to do the same with the help of cunning or flattery, it indicates that a person wants to ingratiate himself.

2 - show sincere interest

To gain trust, it is important to be genuinely interested in the other person. Absolutely everyone likes signs of attention to their own person, and this rule works flawlessly.

nine0002 If you talk only about yourself, then it is unlikely that anything will work out. It is necessary to ask questions to the opponent about himself, about his problems and aspirations. Then he will almost certainly be happy to continue the conversation.

3 - always keep promises

This is one of the most important conditions for mutual trust - to do what is promised. Regardless of how global the promise was. Even a little thing, not done on time, can undermine your credibility and destroy the foundation of a relationship. nine0003

Anyone appreciates a reliable shoulder to lean on. If you really cannot do what you promised, explain the reason and suggest another way out of the situation. Promise something else, e.g.

Attention! Remember - what seems to be an insignificant trifle for you, for another can be not only significant, but sometimes decisive. And if he fails to achieve what he wants through your fault, it will be a big disappointment. Realize the importance of the subject before breaking a promise. nine0003

What promotes and harms trusting relationships



Manner of speech

Failure to fulfill obligations, breaking promises

The speaker's argument

Spreading rumors, slander

Appearance (tidiness, first of all, clean clothes, pleasant smell or lack thereof)

Intentionally misleading a person (deception, in other words)

Social status, competence, authority

Use of interests, resources, aspirations to achieve goals hostile to this person

Environment (a pleasant atmosphere contributes to gaining a person’s trust - for example, in a fitness club, cafe)

Behavior inappropriate for the situation nine0003

How to win a man's trust

1 - respect and love yourself

For a man to trust you, just be yourself. Do not try to embellish yourself and look better than you really are, but do not belittle your dignity either. Show that you are an interesting person, look for common interests and discuss these topics.

2 - try to please his friends

A woman can gain trust and fall in love with a man through his friends. The chances of reciprocity increase if friends appreciate it. At the beginning of a relationship, a man shows not only interest, but also caution, looking at his chosen one. His close friends will help him establish himself in the choice by expressing their opinion. nine0003

3 - speak the right words

In the psychology of interpersonal relationships, words are of great importance. To inspire a man's trust, tell him:

  • you are the best;
  • I feel so good with you;
  • I like the way you care;
  • you know how to make me laugh;
  • only you understand me, etc.

How to gain a child's trust - tips for parents

The main problem of modern children is the lack of parental attention. Not receiving proper care and understanding, children feel lonely, often withdraw into themselves and eventually move away from their parents more and more.

The lack of communication cannot be filled with expensive toys or permissiveness. It will not work to arouse the trust of the child without devoting enough time to him. If he stays with his grandmother or other relatives more often, then he will feel affection for them to a greater extent than for his parents. nine0003

The more time a parent spends with a child, the stronger the emotional bond between them becomes.

To gain the trust of the child, it is necessary to be more willing to communicate. He must feel that there is a person nearby to whom he can tell about his fears or victories, impressions and conclusions.

Case study: The mother of 13-year-old Sophia went to a psychologist with a complaint about her daughter's defiant behavior. “She withdrew into herself, almost does not talk about her life, does not share news. When he comes home, he locks himself in his room and demands that no one enter without knocking. Sonya has ceased to be interested in family affairs and does not always answer questions about where she was and what she did. During the consultation, the doctor, having analyzed the situation, gave a number of recommendations on how to regain confidence in her daughter, and what to do for this. nine0003

It is communication and joint activities - games, walks, visits to cultural and entertainment institutions - that are the key to trusting relationships in the family.

However, you need to communicate properly. Show respect for the feelings, interests and experiences of the child, do not discount them or make it clear that his addictions are less important than yours.

It is important to inspire that you are ready to accept the child as he is, along with failures and problems. Never laugh at his desires, even if they really cause laughter. nine0003

Avoid making fun of your children and never embarrass them in front of strangers.

You can build trust by helping your child build relationships with peers. If for some reason they do not add up, or if it is not possible to join the team in any way, parents need to provide timely assistance to the child. Ask him why there was a misunderstanding and suggest a solution to the problem. The participation of mom and dad greatly contributes to the establishment of really close, trusting relationships. nine0003

One of my clients once said, "I'd rather kill cockroaches in my daughter's room than lose her in a fight over cleaning." He talked about losing his daughter's trust. If you are unable to build a trusting relationship with your child, counseling with a psychologist can help. Our specialists work around the clock, consult remotely, by phone.


What is the golden rule of friendship? nine0003


If you want to gain trust, make your interlocutor rise in your own eyes - this is the rule. Focusing on another person is not easy, because we are all naturally egocentric and think that the world revolves around our personality. After a dialogue with you, the interlocutor should feel more respect for himself, and then you will get the result of using the golden rule of friendship. You will achieve location and inspire confidence. nine0003

Why do people who tilt their heads when talking seem more friendly and endearing to the other person?


When the head is tilted to the side, a person shows the carotid artery, the rupture of which is fatal. In moments of danger, if something threatens life, people instinctively pull their heads into their shoulders, hiding the carotid artery from strangers. In safe situations, they, on the contrary, open the neck and thereby inspire confidence. Therefore, they seem to be more open, inviting, compared to those who keep their heads straight. nine0003

What are the signs of trust?


The main sign is loyalty. It's not just about a girl's loyalty to her boyfriend. It is a willingness to interact and exchange confidential information, as well as certain special actions between people.

How do you know if you can't earn trust?


One of the signs that the interlocutor is experiencing discomfort in communication is his desire to isolate himself. If the conversation is at the table, he can put a book, phone, menu on the table. Arms crossed on the chest also serve as a signal that the entrance to the trust is ordered. A person who sincerely wants to communicate will push back barriers - he will put the menu on the edge of the table, and move the dishes there. nine0003


Think about those whom you have known for a long time - relatives, acquaintances, friends and colleagues. Which of them do you appreciate more than others, with whom do you feel most comfortable? Most likely, such a person will be the one who cares about you the most and is sincerely interested in your life. It is care that allows you to achieve a really high level of relationships.

We publish only verified information nine0003

Article author

Monakhova Albina Petrovna clinical psychologist

Experience 17 years

Consultations 1439

Articles 292

Specialist in clinical psychology. Help in finding tools for self-realization, working out beliefs, fears and anxieties. Work with self-attitude, internal boundaries, understanding of interaction with society through conscious personal changes.

  • 2007 - 2008 MUS Children's polyclinic No. 4 - teacher psychologist
  • 2008 - 2009 Healthy Country LLC - clinical psychologist
  • 2009- 2021 Republican Narcological Dispensary - psychologist
  • 2012 - 2013 Occupational medicine - psychologist
  • 2013 - 2015 LLC Vozrozhdenie - psychologist
  • 2019 to present Teledoctor24 LLC - psychologist

Chapter 10. Win the trust of women, win the trust of men. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus… work together!

Throughout this book, we have talked about how the prejudices and opinions of men and women about each other affect their teamwork and success. We have found that recognizing and addressing our blind spots, as well as being aware of and appreciating our gender differences, are essential to building professional and personal relationships built on a foundation of trust. nine0003

Trust is necessary in order to learn to better understand and perceive each other. This is the basic prerequisite for building harmonious relationships, working well together and achieving good results. We all want to be trusted, we respond to trust with trust and only benefit from it!

Gender Facts

• 95 percent of men and women consider trust to be the foundation of a working relationship.

• 92 percent of women admit that men earn their trust by showing care and concern. nine0003

• 89 percent of men admit that women deserve their trust by demonstrating reliability and competence.

Over the years, we have seen in our seminars that men and women have different meanings for trust, and we have tried to find out exactly how members of one gender group can earn the trust of another.

Women say: "Men can win my trust by showing concern and participation: showing a sincere interest in me and, appreciating my ideas, trying to understand what motives I am guided by. " nine0003

Men say: "Women can win my trust by demonstrating reliability and ability: to recognize and appreciate my true intentions, to work with me to find solutions that bring results."

It would seem that the difference is obvious: women are looking for care and participation, while men are looking for reliability and abilities. And yet both gender groups have the same needs: both men and women want to be understood and appreciated for their personal qualities; both want to establish and strengthen relationships at work that will open up opportunities for fruitful and successful interaction. nine0003

Both at work and in private life, a woman considers a man worthy of her trust if he shows care and interest in those things that are most important to her:

• "I will trust if you involve me and value my opinions."

• "...if you listen to me with sincere attention."

• "... if you understand my emotional state."

• "...and if you answer me honestly. "

Men do not realize how important it is to achieve and strengthen this level of trust in women. A man who does not have gender sensitivity hears these confessions of a woman, but does not understand their essence. Here it is - the blind zone! Men usually don't understand what women are looking for in a trusting relationship and often don't realize how vital it is to them. On top of that, many women do not realize how deeply ignorant men really are. Therefore, they continue to expect a miracle, an "insight" from men, and they again and again miss the chances and continue to play their own games. nine0003

Out of comparison

Once a man has won a woman's trust, any misunderstandings, mistakes or differences that inevitably arise will seem like echoes and will no longer undermine this foundation of trust. It does not at all follow from this that men are given carte blanche in behavior! For women, trust is built on honesty, and honesty can be shown through appropriate, consistent behavior, both in private and in public.

This can be very difficult for a man who easily gets caught up in the masculine code of conduct at work and consistently fails to meet women's expectations:

• objectifies women as sexual objects with jokes or comments;

• Excludes women from participation in meetings or discussions;

• Ignores women's questions and ignores their ideas.

He may not share this behavior himself, but let's not forget: the first impulse of a man is not to put another man in a difficult position. Not wanting to mess things up by defying the male code, he will likely say nothing to another male exhibiting aggressive behavior and will either exclude the female or ignore her ideas. And only then will he express his “outrage”, which in the eyes of a woman will not completely make amends for his guilt. He will realize that he has undermined the foundation of trust between them when she says: “I can’t believe that he said this in your presence, and you remained silent. Why didn't you say anything to that?" nine0003

While men today are conscious enough not to objectify women, it takes a great deal of courage to correct another man's behavior in public, especially in mixed, gender-nonuniform company. Be that as it may, a gender-sensitive man will find ways to guide "on the true path" and clarify their mistakes to other men - whether by his own congruent behavior or by calling them to such.

"I thought I knew him!"

Ann and Phyllis left the restaurant in complete amazement. Lunch with Peter went like they were still in graduate school. A little less than a year has passed since all three received their diplomas and left the walls of the alma mater to start a career in the labor field. The girls were sincerely happy for Peter, who received a high position in a prestigious company. But by the time the waiter brought dessert, they realized they were having dinner with a complete stranger.

Ann was the first to break the silence:

- I always thought that Peter was the most sensitive and caring man I have ever known. He always showed interest in what I was saying. And now he seems to be completely busy with himself. And I thought I knew him!

Phyllis agreed:

- All the way he talked only about himself! He, of course, asked us what progress we had. But then, did you notice? - all the time while you were talking about your new job, he was checking text messages!

"And he pretended to be surprised when you said you were running this project, as if it wasn't about you at all," Ann added. “I seem to have lost something. We have been through such difficult times together. And then we could rely on each other. nine0003

For many men, student life and work life are two completely different worlds. As if inside men something is changing. They tend to be much more flexible and open during their studies, but as soon as they go to work, another mechanism immediately starts working inside them, they begin to experience an almost irresistible craving for competition. They quickly adapt to the male hierarchy and learn the male code at work. In women, such changes do not occur, and if they do, they are not so dramatic. For them, the principles of camaraderie and cooperation remain valuable at work, only, unfortunately, more often with women than with men. nine0003

However, there are men who do not change their behavior when they enter into working life. They make great strides in establishing and strengthening trusting relationships with the women they work with. Women recognize this, and in our seminars they constantly formulate the main ways in which men gain their trust:

• “appreciates my contribution”;

• "involves me in formal and informal communication";

• "recognizes my questions";

• "sincerely listens." nine0003

Appreciate contribution

If it is important for men to be recognized for their results, then a woman feels most needed and appreciated when the difficulties she faces on the way to achieving results are recognized. For many women, the difficulties of climbing and the positive evaluation of their participation bring personal satisfaction and are as important as arriving at the goal.

It is often very difficult for men to understand this because they are results oriented. What men usually don't understand is that what a woman does to achieve a goal needs to be recognized and should be valued in the same way that men are recognized and valued for achieving the goal. This does not mean that women are not goal-oriented, and men do not value relationships. It's just that men and women have different goals to achieve. nine0003

Gender-sensitive men recognize that women experience a sense of appreciation on occasions different from their male counterparts and actively build trust with their co-workers, demonstrating to them that they understand and appreciate this difference to a greater or lesser extent.

Compare these typical similarities and differences in how women and men feel accepted and valued.

What women value:

• She is assigned to a team to complete a task.

• She is offered unsolicited support to show concern and interest. nine0003

• She is asked questions along the way to reinforce the atmosphere of cooperation.

• She is brought into the discussion at the meetings, inviting her to express her thoughts.

• Recognition of the challenges she faced and her contribution to the process.

What men value:

• He is asked to work on a project on his own.

• He is not offered unsolicited support, thereby expressing confidence in his abilities. nine0003

• Let him know that you are there if he has any questions.

• They don't ask him, realizing that if he has something to say, he will ask for the floor.

• Compensation for results.


A woman's feeling of being excluded is not a rare occurrence or a special case, but rather the result of stereotypical behavior of men at work. Men try to ignore it, but they allow it—these repetitive actions of men that ignore or limit a woman's participation in social gatherings, keep her out of social events, and hinder her chances of taking advantage of valuable mentoring opportunities. A gender-sensitive man who overcomes this often inadvertently erected but ubiquitous barrier of exclusion and shows that a woman can always lean on him wins her trust and support forever. nine0003

Here is one example that always comes up in our seminars - an example of a male act that seems to be seemingly insignificant, but in fact undermines the trust and partnership of a woman.

A group of men are sitting in a conference room. The meeting has not yet begun, and they are discussing some purely masculine topic, laughing loudly, and when a woman enters the hall, they abruptly fall silent. The men try to find something to say to break the awkward silence, but they quickly give up. This silence greatly hurts the woman. And she's been in that situation so many times before! She feigns indifference, but camaraderie and trust are undermined. What should she actually believe? That she interrupted a conversation that rallied men? That this conversation was about her? Or that she is not allowed in their circle? nine0003

A gender-sensitive man will be the first to resume the conversation and involve the woman in it. She will trust him more than anyone else because he is considerate. He senses the situation and acts accordingly. If a conversation objectifies a woman, he will not support it. This type of male behavior is the last century for him. His non-participation in the conversation is a sign to other men that for him their rude behavior is childish, which he has already outgrown.

There are a number of ways in which a gender-sensitive man engages a woman in communication and builds a foundation of trust in their relationship. This requires a conscious action of a man and a joint effort to analyze his own blind spots. nine0003

Encourage her participation. The male leader of the group will try to ignore the male who is silent in the meeting. He will assume that the man is silent, because at the moment he does not have any valuable ideas, and will not want to put him in a difficult position. But he will also be aware that women view team participation differently and are more likely to expect an invitation to discussion. And he will ask women to share their opinion.

Recognize her ideas and the right to ask questions at meetings. Men cooperate to compete, perceive teamwork as a team sport, and do not feel that they should give credit to a partner in the process of exchange. A gender-sensitive man will recognize that women do not seek an advantage and do not seek to embarrass a rival, and will pay tribute in the exchange of opinions. nine0003

Invite her to social events. Many informal events are traditionally oriented towards the interests of men, and although women do not want to prevent men from participating in "men's games", they at the same time want to feel part of the team. A gender-sensitive man will politely invite a woman and let her accept or decline the invitation, rather than decide for her whether she's interested or not. And given the fact that half of the workforce today is made up of women, gender consciousness implies the organization of such events that meet exclusively male interests. nine0003

Recognize issues

A gender sensitive man does not perceive women's issues as an impulse that should be tolerated and that should be minimized or even avoided by strategically avoiding sensitive topics. He considers them a manifestation of valuable intuition that complements his thoughts.

The table shows that a gender-sensitive man is more attentive to the meaning of her questions and responds in a way that encourages the woman to ask, but is consistent with his propensity to act. nine0003

Women often look at situations and events from a different angle than men due to their ability to think rationally and logically. It is women's intuitive response to the world around them and one of the best contributions that men often and mistakenly neglect. The gender-sensitive man regards her doubts about the decision in question as intuitive concerns that should be explored before making decisions.

sincerely listen

When a man is distracted by looking away from a woman while talking to her, playing for hours, looking around the room, or checking her text messages, a woman tends to take it personally. Most often, she decides for herself: “He is not interested in what I say” or “I am not at all important to him.”

Even if he listens or tries his best to listen, a gender-sensitive man will understand that his physical behavior can lead her to believe that he is in a completely different place with his thoughts. He is aware that his behavior sends the wrong signals to the woman, and he will hasten to tear himself away from the computer, turn off the TV or put the newspaper aside and give her all his attention. nine0003

If his work is on fire or he is stressed, he will know what to say: "A couple of minutes, now I will finish and I will be at your complete disposal." He will let her know that her needs are important and that he appreciates her, but it only takes him a few minutes to sort out his own affairs. This simple but sincere gesture on his part will help relieve her anxiety. He sends her a message that he is worried about her. And she will trust that when he is free, he will listen to her very carefully. nine0003

Women have a much higher threshold for emotional distress than men. Because of this, they can listen carefully to the problems of the interlocutor, without feeling the urgent need to intervene with their decision. A man, hearing about a problem, tends to do something immediately.

When he answers "I understand" or "Don't worry about it", the woman hears one of two things: "I've heard enough and here's my decision" or "I don't want to hear any more about it - let's change the subject." nine0003

An attentive man understands that a woman most likely wants him to listen to her whole story before expressing her point of view. He is also aware that she may not be looking to him for advice or decision; she just needs someone to listen to her own thoughts on the problem. Instead of an immediate "I understand," he reassures her that he's listening, nodding his head, inserting short "yes," "yes," or "um."

If a man listens without making his own judgments and decisions, but with empathy and participation, a woman feels that she is heard and understood. She trusts him to be her "resonator" and confidant - someone she can turn to constantly. nine0003

Understand the emotional state

We often talk about emotions at work as if they should not be there at all and work should be a place of undivided dominance of reason and logic. In fact, almost everything we do at work is dictated by our emotions.

A gender sensitive man understands the importance of emotions in the workplace. He understands that many key drivers of employee engagement, such as understanding the meaning and purpose of their work, pride in their company's products or services, are often supported on an emotional level. He does not resist the manifestation of emotions. He is aware that trying to contain a woman's feelings and reactions can moderate her work ardor and work ardor, or curb her desire to do her best work. nine0003

Instead of suppressing emotions, he gives the woman the response she expects. If she gives in to emotions, sometimes even to the point of tears, he respects her feelings and shows her his understanding: “I see this is really important to you” or “Is there anything I can help you with?”

He doesn't suppress or dismiss her feelings or reactions, and doesn't rush into ready-made solutions like "Don't worry about it so much" or "Never mind, it's not worth it. " He understands that the woman does not ask him to solve her problem, most likely, she has the strength and means to make her own decision; she just wants to establish a causal relationship with her own feelings by sharing them with him. nine0003

He knows that women are able to show emotions and logic at the same time (which is much more difficult for men). He perceives her emotional reaction at the meeting as evidence of her passion for work,

and not a manifestation of anger or insecurity. He does not end the meeting and ignore the woman in order to stabilize the atmosphere, he is sure that her expression can be rich in meanings, associated with feelings and necessary judgments.

If a woman finds it possible for herself to share her thoughts with a man who is trying to understand the nature of her feelings, she will trust him. And she will remember him as a person she can trust, knowing that he will always listen to her with interest and love. nine0003


In the previous chapters, we have mainly focused on the differences in the structure of the brain between men and women and how our physiological differences can cause differences in the way men and women think and behave. Another differentiating element of male and female biology, which plays an important role in the activation and communication of different parts of our brain, are neurotransmitters (chemical transmitters of impulses between nerve cells) that transmit messages, produce responses and create emotional states that either increase or decrease stress. . nine0003

These neurotransmitters are constantly changing, prompted by what is happening in our brain. The brain receives sensory information and processes it. It commands the release into the bloodstream of molecules (partially in the form of hormones) that mobilize the body for a response, a reaction. Oxytocin is one such neurochemical that is released into the bloodstream as hormones. For decades, scientists thought its role was limited to childbearing and breastfeeding. They were not even aware of its effect on emotions. nine0003

Today, oxytocin is often referred to as the bonding hormone within the community. And although this powerful hormone is produced by both men and women, it plays a much more significant role in a woman's life than in a man's life. In addition to stimulating maternal behavior in women, oxytocin has a calming effect on women's emotions.

Research shows that a woman's oxytocin levels rise when she is around those with whom she has bonds of trust, friendship, care and upbringing. nine0003

There is a direct relationship between the support a woman feels and the detection of high levels of oxytocin. The way a woman interprets the actions of her partner determines the continuous supply of oxytocin.

In men and women, oxytocin causes relaxation and a feeling of attachment to each other. To maintain this sense of contentment, the brain needs reactivation stimulated by proximity, touch, and conversation. True, men need to have physical contact two to three times more often than women to keep oxytocin at the same level. Married couples may not realize how dependent they are on each other's physical presence until they are separated for an extended period of time. When partners are apart, the lack of tactile contact (in the case of men) and tactile and verbal contact, as well as the opportunity to share their experiences (in the case of women), depletes the content of oxytocin in their blood. The attraction of partners to each other is dictated by the need to replenish the "reserve" of the hormone that feeds them and to re-experience calm, relaxation and satisfaction. nine0003

Strengthen the confidence of a man

A woman trusts a man who shows his concern for her, shows that he appreciates her contribution, includes her in work or communication and listens to her with genuine interest and empathy. And just like men have their weaknesses in understanding the importance of building and strengthening trusting relationships with women, women often don't understand what motivates men to trust them, women. Moreover, it is often difficult for women to understand what it takes to win men's trust because men do not often express their feelings, needs and expectations. nine0003

In our workshops, we found that for a man, trust comes down to dependability - commitment to his goals, believing in him, and helping him, the man, succeed. What most often encourages men to trust a woman?

• "She's not trying to fix or change me. "

• "She helps me achieve my goals."

• "She understands that I am interested and listening."

• "She does not automatically consider me insensitive, callous and indifferent."

nine0002 It is difficult for a woman to make her career in a male-dominated working world. But nothing is impossible. They only have to learn one truth: for men, results are more important than the difficulties they faced,

and the relationships they built along the way to achieve them.

The fact that the road and relationships are important to a woman does not mean that there is an abyss that cannot be bridged. A woman can be just as ambitious and goal-oriented as the men around her. That is why commitment to his goals can be genuine for her, and for him a welcome support. nine0003

A man will trust the woman who understands him, looks up to him and acts in accordance with those guidelines that are significant to him. And this is the achievement of results and victory. If she expresses commitment to his ultimate goals, he will always distinguish her among his colleagues as a confidant.

"You don't have to tell me what to do!"

There are many good coaching sessions for senior executives, but the best are those that teach clients to be gender conscious in building a foundation of trust among subordinates, peers, and leaders. Michelle's coaching turned out to be different, and at the end of the course, they learned little about how to win the trust of male leaders. Her mentor advised Michelle to prepare for a promotion interview the way a man would: "Investigate the situation, gather the facts, and confidently present your decisions." nine0003

Michelle did just that. In fact, she did what many other women would do - she overdid it. She collected all the data and figures on her industry, the position of the company, its problems and opportunities. For an hour she bored her future boss and his boss with problems and solutions. But during that hour, the two men heard only one thing: “This is what you are doing wrong, and this is what you need to fix.”

Subsequently, Michelle confessed: “I felt that something was going wrong somewhere in the middle of the interview, but I didn’t understand why. I walked in thinking I had an excellent command of the material, presented a whole series of well-crafted plans, but walked out feeling like I had missed the mark!” nine0003

She only realized why she failed at the interview the next day, when her boss called her into his office and said, “I see you know the business, but you don’t need to tell me what to do!”

Michelle was smitten: “I have lost confidence. I just wanted to show both bosses that I fit the new position and will cope with my duties when I get it.

Definitely worth offering solutions. But Michelle had to first understand what the men's priorities were, reveal their goals to them in order to show her commitment to their goals, and only then present her solutions to help the two men achieve their goals. nine0003

“I don’t need to be perfected!”

Achieving goals is very important for a man. For him, this is the best way to prove his competence and feel confident in himself and his abilities.

And he can feel self-confidence only by achieving goals on his own, only on his own. Nobody else should help him. For a man, independent work is a manifestation of his efficiency, strength and competence.

Understanding this masculine trait can help women understand why men resist being corrected and won't accept being told what to do. To offer a man unsolicited advice is to assume that he does not know what to do, or is unable to do it on his own. nine0003

And here, too, men, as a rule, do not share their feelings. But in our seminars, they express their need for independence, autonomy and recognition, approval in the following way:

• "Please don't try to change or correct me."

• Appreciate me for who and what I am. I don't need to be perfected!"

• "I know what to do, I can do it. "

Women should be extremely careful and accurate in their attempts to improve a man, if he did not ask her about it. If he gives the green light, then everything is wonderful. Only a woman who seeks trust should be aware that she is walking on thin ice if she is too critical or gives more advice than she was asked and expected from her. nine0003

Women tend to improve things, even if they work well. They are convinced: "Everything can always be improved." Men take a different stance: "Don't touch what works." Apply these positions to the workplace and we can see why many women in leadership positions often automatically feel the responsibility of giving direction to other people about work. And such an approach is fraught with a loss of trust of men in her environment.

In order to arouse the trust of a man, win him over, a woman should first see a good start in him and his efforts and support these efforts of his, and not correct or correct them. When a man feels that a woman is not trying to remake, improve him, he will become much more receptive to her ideas and will be more willing to turn to her for help and advice. nine0003

Connect questions to action

In the workshops, we explore the problems and challenges that men and women face when working together. Some men say that their biggest problem is women's tendency to ask too many questions, especially in meetings and sessions where men feel questions slow down discussion of action points and delay decisions.

Women generally agree that they ask more questions than men; but they are sure that their questions are their best contribution to the cause. They stimulate collaboration, help to identify the most important and achieve the best possible results. nine0003

It is difficult for women not to ask fewer questions, they should learn to put them in a form that is better perceived by men. In each of the examples below, the woman could help the man get the message right and immediately offer her support in one of two simple ways by either prefixing her question with a positive, optimistic remark or speaking clearly and directly.

Indirect question complicates perception:

• "How can you be serious?" nine0003

• "What makes you think this will work?"

• "What does everyone else think?"

• "Is this the best course for the company?"

More direct communication gives credibility:

• “Amazing! Is that really true?"

• "Your idea is good, but I would like to hear your thoughts on how to implement it."

• "We have to make a decision, but let's first make sure everyone is happy with it."

• "Thus we will reach our goal, but it seems to me that there is a way that will lead us to it faster." nine0003

Men and women often have different points of view and different experiences. And when they work together, the range of possibilities and perspectives discussed in the decision-making process expands markedly. And it is not at all necessary that the team has an equal number of men and women. It is important that team members have sufficient gender sensitivity to understand and appreciate the contribution that everyone brings to the common cause - each in their own way.

Refusal of insensitivity

Today, men understand more than ever that successful leadership requires a leader to be more receptive, sensitive and attentive to the needs, motivations and interests of those around them. But the manifestation of sensitivity requires effort from men.

It is in the nature of men to first think about a question to themselves and only then share it with others. A withdrawn, silent man is perhaps looking for the most correct or useful answer. He can react this way when he is alone, and in a one-to-one conversation, and when in a noisy room. This is most confusing and often frustrating for a woman. nine0003

If a man does not have enough information to answer, or if a woman's question or comment goes beyond his linear thought process, he may say nothing at all or limit himself to a couple of words. The woman gets the impression that he is not listening, not interested in what she says, or that he is indifferent. A gender-literate woman feels better what is hidden behind a man's outward indifference, his immersion in his own thoughts or disposition to cooperate. She is aware that he behaves this way unintentionally, and this has nothing to do with her personally. He's just completely absorbed in his own thoughts. nine0003

Here are some examples of how a gender-sensitive woman can express her support for a man when he is under stress and appears inattentive or distant. Some of these suggestions are not responses that all men will accept. But most men will respond positively. Another thing to keep in mind is that just as men win women's trust by stepping outside their comfort zone, women can win men's trust by stepping outside their comfort zone. nine0003

• When presenting an idea, proposal, or plan of action, a woman should speak to the point, avoiding long-winded arguments about problems. Focus more on what you think needs to be done.

• Express your request directly. Don't talk about the problem and don't expect him to offer you support. When a woman talks in hints, beats around the bush, a man often decides that he is being manipulated. The less a man feels obligated to do something, the more willingly he will offer help. nine0003

• State your accomplishments, but as you do so, emphasize the results you achieved, not how hard you worked.

• Avoid pointing out to a man that he is tired or stressed. Don't say in a sympathetic tone, "Is something wrong?" or "You look tired." The manifestation of concern for him or participation can further weaken a man, and he will consider it offensive to himself, take it with hostility. A calmer response shows a degree of trust: "I'm sure you're in control." nine0003

• Minimize his mistakes or forgetfulness. When a man makes a mistake, and a woman does not make a fuss about it, does not make an elephant out of a fly, he is imbued with more confidence in her and more faith in himself.

• Speak directly. It disgusts a man when a woman starts talking about how much she needs to do instead of saying no. From a man's point of view, a simple "I can't do it" is enough. If he wants to know more, he will ask.

By being more direct and trying to frame the conversation in a way that will ensure that male colleagues understand the essence of the matter, needs and expectations, a woman will inspire more confidence in them. And men, in turn, will express their gratitude for the fact that she understands and accepts them and does not take offense at their seeming "carelessness" and "indifference". Men will respond to her understanding by demonstrating their trust in her and showing more interest in interacting and cooperating with her. nine0003

Personal life: circle of trust. What Women Want

For Sarah, the little things her husband Jim does every day are evidence of caring. After 25 years of being together, these little things show Sarah that his love for her hasn't faded. When Sarah talks about them, it seems that she and her husband are newlyweds.

“Every morning when I get ready for work, Jim brings the papers home and makes us coffee before leaving for the office. He's an early bird, gets up with the sun. In winter, he cooks breakfast because he knows that oatmeal energizes me on a cold morning. And in the summer, half a glass of orange juice and half of his bun are always waiting for me in the kitchen. He started this tradition of dividing a bun in half many years ago, and it still touches and touches me. It may not seem important to some, but all these little things tell me that he always thinks of me, considers me. If he comes home first, he cooks dinner. In all my years of marriage, I don't recall a time when I came home and nothing was cooking on the stove or in the oven. nine0003

When our children were young, he took them to the doctor during his lunch break, and one of us - and not just me - always went to school activities after school. We also had difficult times, but I never doubted him, did not lose confidence in him and let him know this every day.

For women, words are not as important as actions. Even the little things - those nice little things that a husband does for his wife - all count, matter, and remind her how much he cares about her. It is not difficult for a man to do them, or should not be difficult. It is genuine admiration and passion on his part to want to give and keep giving. A man should understand: if he treats the woman he loves as a person he appreciates, he will be amazed at how quickly trust will increase between them, and along with him, his relationship with her will strengthen. nine0003

What men want

At work, a man trusts a woman whom he considers capable and confident, a person who will always support him and help him achieve his goals. In his personal life, a man's feeling of support from a woman is no less important. Moreover, a man is inspired by the knowledge that his partner trusts him, appreciates and approves of what he does, admires him for his uniqueness and believes in his abilities.

When a woman is open and receptive to a man, he feels that he is trusted. Trusting a man means believing that he is trying his best and wants only the best for his partner. When a woman's reactions betray this positive belief in a man's abilities and best intentions, his urgent need for love is satisfied. Automatically, he becomes more caring and attentive to her feelings and needs. nine0003

When a woman recognizes that a man's efforts are useful and appreciates them, he feels gratitude. He realizes that his efforts were not in vain, and this prompts and stimulates him to give even more.

Just as a woman needs to feel a man's devotion, so a man needs to feel a woman's admiration for him. A man feels admired when she is struck by his unique features or talents - wit, strength, tenacity, honesty, romanticism, kindness and other virtues that many today consider old-fashioned, but which are actually eternal. When a man realizes that he is admired, he feels confident enough to devote himself to a woman, become a devotee and worship her. nine0003

When trust, recognition, approval and admiration are seen in a woman, this encourages a man to be all that he can be. And this motivation and faith in him on the part of a woman motivates him to confirm his love to her, which she needs so much.

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