Be a good bluffer

In her new book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, suggests that women need more self-confidence.

How can you develop more self-confidence?

Betty Lehan Harragan, in her book Games Mother Never Taught You—Corporate Gamemanship for Women, says that women need to learn how to be good bluffers. Her book was published in 1977.

Women need to learn how “to put on an act” just like men often do, Harragan says. “They must conceal their nervousness and do their best to appear calm, confident and collected. You don’t have to feel self-assured to inspire confidence and be in control. You just have to be a good bluffer.”

Women underestimate their own abilities while, at the same time, overestimating the abilities of the men in charge, Harragan says. “Women stand in inordinate awe of top executive jobs, even though it’s likely that many intelligent, experienced women now working in under-utilized positions couldn’t do worse than a number of current CEOs at running a large company.”

Harragan also quotes Robert Heller, a British business editor. He once chided Americans for their “simple refusal to believe that anybody who has made millions, floated to the top of a large corporation, or both, can be an idiot.”

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