TEDxDelftWomen 2015 | Dorothy Grandia | Authenticity is a Dangerous Word

Dorothy Grandia live

“Have I ever felt authentic?” Dorothy Grandia asks. While on stage, Grandia openly admits to feeling somewhat like a fraud compared to her colleagues, whether they are other speakers, Texas legislators or opera singers. It always takes a while for her to get used to her new role before she can feel authentic.

Working at Erasmus University’s Centre of Excellence, Grandia helps women in mid-management positions become strong leaders by improving the way they communicate. However, she often notices that women no longer feel authentic when they follow her advice on changing their body posture and increasing their voice projection. It is as if they have an “authenticity devil” on their shoulder, making them feel inadequate. This voice is telling them that they are not good enough, which leads to women underestimating themselves or worse, making them appear arrogant.

“Authenticity is great. It’s the degree to which you are true to your values and character despite external pressure,” Grandia says. Yet, it’s no longer positive when authenticity holds you back from projecting more confidence.

According to Grandia, in order to become confident, you have to act confident. If you want a promotion, you have to convince others of your potential by being confident about your potential. “Will you feel authentic? she asks. “Probably not. Who cares? You need to get over it!” Indeed, Grandia wants women to walk with a confident stride and say something unimportant in a confident way, starting today.

Unfortunately, there are many potential women who lack confidence. Grandia believes that we are in a dangerous situation because the world needs more competent leaders and that there are a many competent women who are ready to lead. “We need competent leaders, but [we also need to] follow confident leaders,” she explains.

So the next time you don’t feel confident, Grandia wants you to listen to the “confidence angel” on your other shoulder, shouting, “We need you. You’re competent. You’re ready. You need to lead. So make them want to follow you!”