Increasing Confidence in the Workplace

Can you think of a time when you lacked confidence in the workplace?

We have all had them. It might be a lack of confidence when you started a new job, or when you had responsibility but no authority to solve the problem. Have you worked in a toxic team environment? Are you a perfectionist and too hard on yourself?

We have all heard ‘fake it until you make it’. Regardless of the reason as to why you lack confidence in the workplace, there are things we can do to increase our confidence.

  1. Recognize your Uniqueness[1]

There is only one you. No one can do or think exactly as you do. Celebrate what defines you, your skills, experiences, thoughts, and ideas. If you are unsure of yourself and struggle with identifying your own strengths take an inventory of things you do well. Ask for feedback from trusted friends and family then find ways to use those strengths in your job.

  1. Don’t focus on what others think.

Many business environments have a competitive culture, and although this competitiveness can drive for better ideas, do not expend your energy worrying about how others perceive you.

  1. Have a Reality Check.

Ask for honest feedback. Sometimes this feedback can be difficult to hear. But if you ask with the intention for self-improvement it can be most helpful.

For example a few years ago I had a board president sit down with me and discuss my strengths and weaknesses, I was going through a difficult time in my personal life with a divorce and adjusting to the demands of being a single parent while supporting a family on my own. The feedback given about one particular weakness was difficult to hear. I listened with the intent to find ways to improve. It was suggested I read a few books to turn this particular weakness into a strength. I not only read the books recommended and worked to implement changes, but I also sought out additional learning opportunities to strengthen this weakness. We are human, we have strengths and weakness, we are not perfect and no one expects us to be. The growth came by not only having the desire to improve but also the follow-up action that was noticed by the board of directors that their feedback was heard and acted upon.

When co-workers and managers see that you are actively working on correcting a weakness it shows them that you are dedicated to the company and want to give the best of yourself to the job.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone.

Volunteer for a project that will help you build new skills. Do not be afraid to ask to participate if you recognize a skill/interest you want to learn about.

  1. Emulate others.

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.[2] Be sure to acknowledge the work other team members put into the success of the projects. Be enthusiastic, be a team cheerleader celebrating success and appreciative of the efforts of all the team members.

  1. Speak with Confidence

Eliminate “uhm”, “ah”, “so”, “I think”, “I feel”, “in my opinion”.  Instead, use “This will work because….” Be decisive and be prepared.

In it was stated “A healthy level of confidence, will make you more likely to engage in a challenging but manageable projects, will help you get outside your comfort zone, and allow you to achieve new goals”

Confidence is something that is created.  You get to decide if you are building your own confidence or tearing it down. Remember, do not beat yourself up. The number one confidence killer is Perfectionism[3]. As you work on improving yourself and your confidence there will be setbacks, you are human and no one is perfect. Be kind to yourself and others. As we traverse through the highs and lows of life there is never an end to learning and growing, ask questions, be curious and have fun!

Cheryl Viola, Executive Director