How to Build Your Workplace Confidence
Workplace confidence refers to the mindset that you carry with you in the workplace. It is the belief that you have in yourself, your skills and your decisions, and by extension, how others perceive you.
Workplace confidence, whatever you may assume, is not an innate quality. It is facilitated by a positive outlook and a realistic view of your ability.
By working on your confidence, you will reap measurable benefits, which could include:
- Greater responsibility (leading to bonuses and promotions)
- Ownership of bigger and more interesting projects
- A way of thinking that will carry you through challenging moments
What you are feeling on the inside shows clearly on the outside, and will irrepressibly shine out of you like a beacon, or, conversely, camouflage you into the background.
A lack of self-confidence is best described as an invisible hand, holding you at ground level, refusing to let you ascend in your career and insisting on keeping you hidden at work.
Confidence can feel quite ephemeral if you typically struggle with belief in yourself. However, it is an important feeling that has real and definite effects on your career advancement, general well-being and sense of purpose.
Therefore, it is important to have a flexible structure in place to help you maintain and build your confidence.
Confidence helps you to stand out. And when you stand out, the cards play in your favor – you are statistically much more likely to be promoted, be onboarded for stimulating projects and be given more autonomy at work.
Confidence can also help you bond with your team, improve your capacity to handle challenges and setbacks, and to make best use of your time. When all of these positives are interconnected and in place, you will feel the full force of your confidence snowballing.
Confidence also gives security in decision-making and is a key leadership quality, so if you are looking to progress your career, developing your confidence is central and should function as the foundation to your career development.
As well as self-development, confidence is important for the progression of your company. No employee is an island; each confident employee seen from the outside will be one of the parts that represent the company as a whole.
When you are radiating confidence, you will be representing your company in its best and most positive light.
The first key to becoming more confident at work is identifying that your main strength lies within yourself.
This means that the more you focus upon your personal output and effort, the less you will feel distracted by workplace politics or drama. If you are doing your best, you will naturally feel pride in your work, and this will show.
Remaining humble and recognizing your weaknesses as well as your strengths will help to keep you confident, but grounded. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
Furthermore, by identifying your weaknesses, you give yourself a chance to overcome them and gain even more confidence and success.
For example, your weakness may be public speaking, but part of your job role requires pitching to clients on a semi-regular basis alongside your team.
However, your strength is that you are great at generating original, creative ideas. Therefore, you would need to consider how you could become more confident when pitching to clients. Maybe you could practice your pitch before meetings with other members of your team and gain their feedback before the client meeting.
Speaking with surety is your first stop to engaging colleagues and clients and to helping develop their trust in you.
Speaking confidently is not only in your tone, it also lies within your personal lexicon. If the way you speak sounds doubtful and contains many fillers, what you say will naturally carry less weight. This goes for written communication as well as verbal.
Additionally, you may be in the habit of making self-effacing jokes. You may not notice half the time you’re making them, because you’re getting the hit of making people laugh.
However, you are doing yourself a disservice every time you put yourself down. As well as projecting a view of yourself as an individual not to be taken seriously, you are focusing on people-pleasing, rather than the task in hand. In other words, you are deflecting from your skills and ideas.
By rewarding yourself when you are successful at completing a task, or securing a win, you will boost your motivation.
When it comes to putting a confident mindset in place, celebrating the wins, even the small ones, will help you maintain your positive attitude.
Ways you could reward yourself could include simple bonuses, such as a nice barista coffee, or some relaxing time in front of a movie on the sofa later in the evening.
Keeping a gratitude journal as a record of your achievements is also a great practice, not only for overall confidence, but also as a way to keep you on track for goal achievement.
By celebrating your wins, you are also marking time, meaning that the path you are progressing along will remain clear to you.
When you don’t take time to give yourself a gold star and celebrate your victories, you automatically make your challenges harder.
Consider playing a football match in a stadium and not getting clapped or cheered by your supporters – it would be so much harder to remain motivated and see the reason behind what you were doing. It’s the same with work; be your own supporter and cheerleader.
Body language is an important part of communicating confidence. Recent research carried out by Harvard University unequivocally showed that by practicing ‘power postures’ such as standing up straight with your shoulders back, head held high and arms out, promotes greater levels of testosterone and a drop in cortisol.
Testosterone is linked to greater feelings of power (it is also known as the ‘dominance hormone’), while cortisol is a steroid hormone, increasing heart rate and blood pressure, acting as the body’s alarm system for stressful situations.
Body language can project confidence like a glowing light. The ability to walk into a room and immediately exude this positivity is at your fingertips – literally.
Each gesture you make will tell people how you’re feeling, what you might be thinking and whether you even want to be present at a meeting or client pitch.
For example, perceived ‘nervous’ gestures, such as touching your neck, ears and hair, or playing with jewelry, will immediately place you as someone who is unconsciously needing to calm yourself.
You may need work to fight this urge, as these gestures are often just unconscious habits.
Replace them with open gestures; holding your palms face up when you are gesticulating, standing straight and keeping your chin up.
Investing time in learning will unquestionably help you to maintain your relevance within a competitive workplace, but in terms of psychological success, it will also give you purpose.
When you have purpose, you have meaning. And when you have meaning, you have the mental strength to make your life and work the best it can possibly be; which in turn can only lead to one outcome: a wonderfully glowing confidence!
Setting personal goals is important for maintaining a sense of personal worth. It will help you to feel better connected to your work as you are not only working towards the expectations of your line manager, but you are putting yourself in the driving seat.
Goal-setting is a practical way of enforcing short- and long-term wins, helping you to see with perspective.
Essentially, when you set goals, you have a sense of where you started, where you are going and where you are currently.
The importance of networking can sometimes be underestimated. Work can easily take over your life, and you can find yourself stuck within the structure that is set for you within your workplace.
Making new contacts and working to establish other connections can help give you perspective, as well as strengthen your career and business resources.
If you decide to switch companies, job roles or even career direction, the contacts that you have made and maintained may be helpful in facilitating those changes.
It is also important to remember that as well as networking for yourself, you may also be networking on behalf of your company, depending on the nature of your role and of the company.
Networking may look like a literal networking event, but it can also mean keeping open conversations in general life – you never know who may link you up to a new exciting client or possible job opportunity. The world is your oyster.
Losing confidence at work happens to the best of us, and is unfortunately not as unusual as you might think. How you handle it will determine how difficult or easy you find conducting yourself at work thereafter.
Your confidence could be knocked in a variety of ways, including external influences, difficult co-worker or manager relationships, and the company itself facing challenges.
To get started, pinpoint where you most struggle with your confidence. For example, your confidence may have been knocked in a particular situation, or it may be a recurring factor at work that you need to deal with.
Common situations often involve confidently speaking in front of team members and potential clients, time management and making a good first impression.
If it has been a specific situation that has knocked your confidence off its perch, your best strategy is to get back onto the bike as quickly as possible.
In essence, confidence is the key to making you look great and feel great at work.
A degree of confidence and self-assurance would have got you successfully through the recruitment stages for a role, but this confidence shouldn’t be left there. It should be harnessed for the rest of your time as a member of the workplace.
Confidence is not only a skill; it is an attitude.