Women often are chided for having too little self-confidence. But it’s also true that overly confident women can be branded as “pushy” or “brassy.” So where’s the middle?

Sydney Finkelstein, a professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, tells Inc. writers Ilan Mochari and Scott Leibs that excessive self-confidence “helps you land the jobs that lead to the top but then works against you once you’re the leader.” But Margery Kraus, founder and CEO of consultancy APCO Worldwide, wants to see some confidence and drive. “I’ve been in more than one situation,” she tells Inc., “where I offer a man and a woman the same job—a promotion—and the woman’s response is ‘You know, I’ve never done that before and I don’t know if I’m totally qualified,’ while the man says, ‘That’s great. I’m ready to go.’”

Deborah Kolb, professor emerita at Simmons College School of Management, says what she calls “second-generation gender bias” can negatively impact how women are evaluated. Longstanding, often unexamined practices that she labels “second-generation gender bias” have an insidious impact on how business leaders evaluate women candidates. For example, job descriptions often include extensive and detailed descriptions of qualifications needed. Men are less likely to be dissuaded by such requirements and instead will simply play up their strengths, Kolb says. Even though no one is likely to meet the idealized qualifications in many job descriptions, women are more likely to decide they don’t measure up and not apply.

The Inc. article can be found here. Add your thoughts about how much self-confidence women should exhibit. Tell your story at GlassCeiling.com.

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