The Importance of Confidence for Women Healthcare Leaders

Women may hold three-quarters of all healthcare jobs, yet only 37% of the executives at the nation’s largest hospitals are female. The percentage is smaller still at Fortune 500 healthcare companies where less than a quarter of executive jobs are held by women.

What can women who aspire to healthcare leadership do to change that?

Act with confidence, says Dr. Joanne Conroy CEO and president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and founder of Women of Impact — Healthcare.

In a podcast discussion, Conroy described the importance of communication – confident communication — in reaching the top tiers of healthcare administration.

“When women present an idea, a concept, or something in kind of a strategy session, they often weaken their points by using qualifiers by saying, ‘I’ve been thinking about this,’ or, ‘Would you think about it?’ instead of giving their opinion with confidence,” Conroy says.

Part of the reason for that approach, she says, is cultural. Women are brought up to emphasize relationships more than self. “They make things happen by being flexible,” Conroy says, adding there’s a time to be flexible and “a time to be firm and confident.”

There’s also a sort of tentativeness in how women present that arises from a lack of confidence in their own ideas. “When sometimes they don’t get credit for their ideas,” says Conroy, it’s “because they don’t present them in a way that makes people stop and say, ‘Wow that was a great idea.’”

Conroy recalled counseling women considering a step up, but hesitated to apply because they felt they weren’t completely prepared. “If there are 10 job requirements, [but] if they have nine of them, they’ll say, ‘Well, I’m not ready.’ But there are many men that have two of them and say, ‘That job is for me!’”

Her advice is to observe the women around them to learn from those who are good communicators. Use the power of silence, she says. “I do observe women that are making a pitch and use 100 words when they should use 25,” she explains. “There’s nothing more powerful than a very direct, simple opinion [or a] request followed by silence.”

How something is presented demands practice. Conroy says she’s spent “hours in front of bathroom mirrors making sure that what I wanted to come out of my mouth came out of my mouth.“

In the end, she says, “It’s all about confidence… [be] confident, articulate, and memorable.”

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Justin Stratton
Creative General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Professional Support Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Justin Stratton

Director of Green Key Pharma Receives RAPS’ Community Leadership Award
General Interest Green Key News Healthcare Leadership + Management Pharma Worklife

Director of Green Key Pharma Receives RAPS’ Community Leadership Award

5 Tips to Ace Your Virtual Interview
Accounting + Finance Architecture + Engineering Creative Financial Services General Interest Healthcare Human Resources Information Technology Leadership + Management Legal Support Marketing Technology Pharma Professional Support

5 Tips to Ace Your Virtual Interview

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Clare Wright
General Interest Green Key News Professional Support Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Clare Wright

Green Key Unlocked: The Future of Administrative Support
General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Professional Support Worklife

Green Key Unlocked: The Future of Administrative Support

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Tara Potter
General Interest Green Key News Pharma

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Tara Potter

Green Key Unlocked: Hiring Trends in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction
Architecture + Engineering General Interest Green Key News

Green Key Unlocked: Hiring Trends in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Shandi Frederick
General Interest Green Key News Healthcare

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Shandi Frederick

#GreenKeyUnlocked: What’s New in the Tech Job Market?
General Interest Green Key News Information Technology

#GreenKeyUnlocked: What’s New in the Tech Job Market?

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Jordan Boyd
General Interest Green Key News Information Technology

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Jordan Boyd

How to Negotiate a Job Offer
General Interest Worklife

How to Negotiate a Job Offer

#GreenKeyUnlocked: Digital Tools and Technologies in Pharma
General Interest Green Key News Healthcare Marketing Technology Pharma

#GreenKeyUnlocked: Digital Tools and Technologies in Pharma

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Jordan Haas
General Interest Green Key News Pharma

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Jordan Haas

#GreenKeyUnlocked: Become a Medical Assistant
General Interest Green Key News Healthcare

#GreenKeyUnlocked: Become a Medical Assistant

#WeAreGreenKey: Intern Spotlight on Olivia Stein
General Interest Green Key News Healthcare Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Intern Spotlight on Olivia Stein

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Brett Braterman
General Interest Green Key News Healthcare

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Brett Braterman

#GreenKeyUnlocked: Accounting Advisory Consulting
Accounting + Finance Financial Services

#GreenKeyUnlocked: Accounting Advisory Consulting

#GreenKeyUnlocked: Let’s Get Creative!
Creative General Interest Green Key News

#GreenKeyUnlocked: Let’s Get Creative!

How to Quit Your Job (The Right Way)
General Interest Worklife

How to Quit Your Job (The Right Way)

Green Key Unlocked: Let’s Talk Marketing Operations
General Interest Green Key News Information Technology Marketing Technology

Green Key Unlocked: Let’s Talk Marketing Operations

Latest Blog Posts
View All Posts
#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Justin Stratton

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Justin Stratton

Justin Stratton joined Green Key Resources as an Executive Recruiter in 2015. Six years later, he is a Staffing Manager...
Read More
Director of Green Key Pharma Receives RAPS’ Community Leadership Award

Director of Green Key Pharma Receives RAPS’ Community Leadership Award

Director of Green Key Pharma, Lindsey Summers, is a co-recipient of the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS) 2021 Community Leadership...
Read More
5 Tips to Ace Your Virtual Interview

5 Tips to Ace Your Virtual Interview

Whether you’re preparing for a phone screen or a final stage interview, virtual interviews are now an inevitable component of...
Read More