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How to improve your confidence at work

11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Experiencing low self-confidence at work is more common than you probably think, with approximately 85% of people worldwide having issues with self-esteem. You might experience feelings of not being good enough or as skilled as other colleagues to do your role. And you might even choose to remain quiet in meetings instead of sharing opinions, always second-guessing yourself. Maybe you feel like what you have to say wouldn’t add value to the conversation, or choose to stay quiet as you don’t feel you know enough about the topic and will be judged for your ideas.

Feelings of low self-confidence are normal and expected, especially if you’re new at a job and unsure of the company culture or how your workplace operates and does things. Or you might not have the skills to do an effective job, making you feel inadequate compared to peers. It might also stem from inner critics, messages from other people or the media.

It’s said that 79% of women regularly lack confidence at work and avoid going after promotions, putting them at a disadvantage to men and less likely to be offered pay rises. Whereas, 59% of men feel as though their confidence is hindering their progress, and 20% view themselves to be ‘not confident at all.’ It’s clear then that low confidence holds you back in the workplace from accomplishing your goals and succeeding. Not only that, but it can make micromanagement, perfectionism and strained relationships more apparent, harming workplace culture.

But with increased self-awareness, confidence is something that can be learned and practised, leading to better decision making, increased job satisfaction and more opportunities.


Signs of low confidence at work

Below are some common signs of low confidence at work to help identify if you’re struggling:

  • Feeling inadequate
  • Strained relationships with colleagues
  • Downplaying successes or being modest
  • Difficulty socialising with colleagues
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Perfectionism
  • Overachieving to prove adequacy
  • Fear of making mistakes and decisions
  • Negative inner talk

Benefits of improving employees confidence at work

There are many benefits to increasing confidence at work, both for the employee and employer. Not only will employees feel better about themselves and their work, they will also be more productive, motivated and better contributors. The workplace culture will be a more supportive environment, reducing staff turnover and leading to stronger outcomes for organisations.

  • Boost overall happiness of employees
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Lower staff turnover
  • Employees that feel more motivated and productive
  • Better company outcomes
  • Higher skill set among team members
  • Stronger and more positive workplace culture
  • More job opportunities to work on assignments or get promotions

Tips for increasing confidence at work

Highlight your strengths and achievements.

Make a list of all the things you’ve accomplished or done well. Don’t be modest. Ask friends or colleagues to help with this if needed. Read the list regularly, especially when you’re lacking confidence. Reflect on your accomplishments that validate you are the right person for your job.

Advance your skills.

If there are areas you feel less confident or skilled in, make a plan and map out steps you can take to improve these areas. Enrol on a course to improve your skills, or speak to your HR who might be able to help with this. Advance in an area you lack confidence in or need to improve on to be more productive and feel better about your role.

Mirror confident mentors or people you admire in real life.

Find a confident figure to follow in life. What leadership qualities do they have? How is their posture? How do they communicate with others? Having a mentor will help when you’re lacking confidence, to remind you to do as they would.

Reframe failures.

Change your negative self-talk and view your previous failures as lessons for growth. What can you learn from them? How can the lesson help you on future projects? Practice adopting a growth mindset and start seeing failures as necessary opportunities to learn about yourself and be better.

Practice giving and receiving feedback.

This can be difficult if you’re lacking confidence or feeling hypersensitive. But the more you practise this skill, the more assertive you’ll become and your confidence will grow. Practise not taking feedback as criticism. If structured well, see it as an opportunity to grow or improve in an area. Thank the feedback giver for bringing it to your attention.

Adopt a positive attitude at work.

When things naturally crop up at work or frustrations happen, practising a positive attitude allows you to stay focused on what you’re accomplishing without worrying what others are thinking of you. You’ll be able to start reframing problems and see that they’re natural parts of life, not a character flaw.

Schedule an end-of-day reflection.

At the end of each day, do a short reflection activity and note down at least three things that went well that day. Although you might have had a difficult day and doubted your ability at times, this will help you end the day with positives in mind. It will give you a boost of confidence to remember that you did things really well and you’re better than you think at your role.

If you’re struggling with low self-confidence in the workplace, book a session with one of our dedicated confidence coaches 👇