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There's no denying that Gen Z is an ambitious generation. We're constantly looking for ways to level up, whether that means going after a promotion or finding a career-accelerating opportunity elsewhere. 

But when it comes time to take our careers to new heights, do we really feel ready? Apparently not. According to a recent survey from analytics platform Visier, Gen Z respondents were 10 percentage points more likely than millennials to be concerned about failing in the role when considering a promotion. Why? A lack of confidence, especially when that promotion is to a management position.

"Gen Z employees are particularly worried about becoming people managers because they think that they don't have the ability to influence others," says Dr. Andrea Derler, principal of research and value at Visier. "There's a lack of confidence in terms of, what does leadership actually mean?"

Despite this belief that we might not have what it takes to successfully lead a team, the survey found that Gen Z is the most likely generation to be open to becoming people managers. It's clear there is a gap between our ambitions and confidence, which Derler suggests may be due to the already high levels of stress our generation experiences. 

"We see generally for Gen Z a financial burden that's been put on younger generations," Derler says. "Even the inflation in the last couple of years has made life outside of parents' homes really difficult... Inflation hasn't helped them be really confident in, 'I want to tackle this new challenge. I feel that I can do this.'"

Derler emphasizes that it's not that Gen Zers are unprepared to become managers. It's that we are uncertain if we will receive the necessary support from our employers. "We see a lot of worry and concern around, do I get enough support from my company or is it only going to be a lot of stress?," Derler says.

To understand how we can overcome a lack of confidence and self-advocate for support at work, I spoke to career coach Jasmine Escalera. She shared advice on defining confidence, overcoming fear of failure and more. Below are excerpts from our conversation (some quotes were lightly edited for length and clarity):

If you have perceived gaps that contribute to a feeling of unpreparedness, what should you do?

Have open, honest communication with your manager to request that those gaps be filled. Say to your manager, 'I have aspirations to one day be a leader. I have aspirations to one day be a manager. In working toward that outcome for myself, I am considering where some of my gaps lie, and here's what I've been able to come up with. Are there ways that the company, the team, you, can support me in filling those knowledge or experience gaps? Are there projects that I can take on? Are there projects that I can lead? Are there potential new employees coming in that I can train?' Engage your manager in a conversation about your career aspirations and how they can support you to get there.

What's your advice on building confidence early in your career?

If you want to be a confident leader, what does that truly mean to you? Give yourself the ability to say, 'If confidence as a leader means this to me, then what resources, tools and tactics do I need in order to build my knowledge or fill gaps in that area toward being a confident leader?' Do your own self-assessment. It also is about not only what resources and knowledge [you need], but also what support do you need? If there's a leader in your organization that you feel emulates your definition of leadership, how can you communicate with that individual what your goals are and potentially have that person mentor you? Have that community.

What's the next step after you define what confidence means to you?

When we do that assessment of, what does confidence mean to me and how can I build this confidence and how can I gain this support? The next step in that is really, am I in the right environment to present this version of myself each day? The environment that you are in needs to cultivate the person you want to become. If it doesn't, then that's something to really take a step back and say, 'No matter how much work I do, I may not be able to achieve this goal.' Then you have to ask yourself, 'How do I find that environment?' 

What if your current company doesn't provide support? Externally, what can you do? 

I would network with individuals who are in the positions you aspire to be in and ask them the factual information. We can spiral due to imposter syndrome and doubt. We want to get the fact-based information around what it is that you truly need in terms of filling these gaps. I would go on a fun networking adventure where I start talking to individuals who have the kinds of roles I'm looking for and saying, 'These are the kinds of gaps I need to fill. What are the best avenues for me to do that?' So you're getting the information from the people who've walked the path instead of staying in your bubble and allowing your brain to take you on this expedition that sometimes can take you to wild places.

What are your top three tips on advocating for yourself?

Stop thinking that bragging is bad. That's one. Self-promotion is the key to getting what you want. We have to brag about our achievements. The second thing I would say is do not let life take over, especially the craziness of career life. Be diligent about tracking your accomplishments. Do not let six months or a year go by and now you are trying to advocate for a promotion or a pay raise and you have to think about six months or a year of accomplishments. Then the third thing that I would say is really utilize LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an amazing way to put yourself out there outside of your organization. Do not think that your organization is the be all, end all. Always be ready for other opportunities to come your way.

What are your top three tips on overcoming fear of failure? 

The first thing is acknowledging that failure is inevitable. Part of success is failing. The second part is being able to have a support system around you so that when these things happen, you are able to connect with other professionals, talk it through and get advice, feedback and strategies for how you can come back and try again. And then also be open to accepting failure as part of your current position and talking to your manager openly about what that looks like and how you can really overcome that.
Source . LinkedIn

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