Confidence in the workplace is a key issue in your career progression.
It is a frustrating truth that how your colleagues and managers see you is influenced not only by your performance in your role, but also in the involvement you have in meetings, social events and office politics.
So, if you feel you are lacking in confidence, you may be finding that you are also missing out on opportunities at work (and perhaps outside work, too, but that’s a different article) that you would be perfectly capable of making a success of, if only you were thought of in the right way.
Before we get into the hints and tips for increasing your confidence at work, it may be worth pointing out that this issue is more or less important depending on your line of work, your seniority and the industry you work in. Being confident is generally considered a good thing, but we can’t all be, so your choice of company, sector or position may help you to feel more in tune with your workplace surroundings.
Perhaps a role where you are not required to make presentations, or go to trade fairs would be a good idea, for example. If the job you love does require these things, then read on.
Identify Your Trouble Spots
Knowing yourself and your character is invaluable with regards to gaining confidence at work – you will be able to spend some time identifying what particular areas of your role you are comfortable or uncomfortable with. For example, you may feel that project meetings with your team are fine – you enjoy the banter of a small group, know you are on track with your work and can make valuable suggestions. Or it may be that large groups are less scary for you as you can join in the general throng without being called on personally. If you are starting to feel like you are missing out at work or often find yourself in problematic circumstances, take five minutes now to think about what are your trouble spots – you can then be prepared for them and act accordingly.
Once you have identified your particular trouble spots, you can put in place methods for dealing with them. These small steps will enable you to feel more in control of your work place behaviour in the areas that felt out of your control before. The most common areas in which people feel uncomfortable at work tend to be small or large meetings, office social events, reviews or appraisals and client meetings.
Here are some tips on being prepared
First impressions count – if you feel confidence in how you look you will be able to work on being confident in your actions. Make sure you don’t feel embarrassed or self conscious about your clothes, haircut or general presentation wherever possible.
Understand the purpose of the meeting/gathering or whatever, so you can prepare accordingly. If it is a relaxed chat about the upcoming Christmas party, have some suggestions for venues; if the client meeting is a crucial one, ask for five minutes the week before with your boss to talk through the aims of the meeting. Always make sure you are on time, too, so you don’t feel flustered and on the back foot before you even start.
Think about why you got the job in the first place, your skills and attributes – what you add to the team. Remember your training and qualifications, past experiences. All these factors will help you build your confidence as you will be able to understand what you have to offer and the benefits you bring to your workplace.
Don’t imagine all your colleagues feel totally confident all the time. They too will question themselves in meetings or before reviews. How you feel is very common, it’s just not helpful. You don’t have to be full of yourself, just know that you are a valued member of the team and your contributions are worthwhile.