confidence in the workplace

Becoming More Confident in Your Work: A Psychology Viewpoint

Our psychology columnist on how to improve your confidence in the workplace.

Our psychology columnist on what you need to do to increase your chances of landing that contract.

As we evolve into adults we consume and learn from experiences, feelings and behaviours. Along the way we are shaped by these experiences, whether we encounter them personally or professionally.

Confidence is not something we are born with.

That includes within the workplace and developing confidence within our professional lives can take time. This evolution of confidence can go either way in the workplace. Either our confidence levels are stifled by bad experiences, poor working relationships and mistakes or they . soar through positive feedback, setting and achieving goals and so forth.

Very often the path our confidence levels take usually comes down to how we manage ourselves in the workplace, how we react to both positive and negative feedback and we use our own experiences and skills to our advantage.

For example, if you are meeting a prospective customer or client, then learning how to ‘land the contract’, exude confidence and impress will come down to how you manage yourself and the immediate working environment. Read on for some tips and pointers to build, maintain and display confidence with your clients and co-workers. 

Trumpet your Triumphs

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Trumpeting your success treads this line very carefully, but to build confidence this needs to be done.

It’s ok to let your clients and colleagues know when you have hit a target or achieved a goal, and you can certainly build and instil confidence by doing so. This promotes self-reward and self-awareness around achievement and success. Getting into this habit will build positive insight and self-esteem which reassures your abilities with others. 

State your Intentions

When meeting prospective clients and customers if you can reassure them of your skills and abilities then subconsciously you can reassure yourself. It’s a form of self-talk that will help you, via them, remind yourself of what you are capable of.

If you state your intentions clearly to the client, for example letting them know you can finish specific tasks, jobs and hit deadlines, then self-worth will increase. By clearly expressing your goals and intentions to clients, customers and co-workers you can build confidence by holding yourself accountable.

Delivering these message out loud, voicing your aims and objectives you can promote credibility and gain respect, only if you meet these expectations of course!

Feed off the Feedback

If you receive negative feedback, criticism or personal attacks then you are not alone. This will happen to almost every one of us in the workplace at some stage in our career. What defines us and how this impacts our confidence is what we do with the feedback or criticism.

By using the feedback as ammo and insight you can change your approach to the working environment. If someone suggests you’re too quiet, or not assertive enough then take this on board and in the next meeting make sure you put something on the agenda to bring up. This process of bouncing back and growing as a result of good or bad feedback can transform your confidence levels.

Filter Off

When attending meetings with perspective clients you do need to have a filter on your everyday thoughts and vocabulary. However, speaking your mind can also be a great confidence booster.

When you are too aware of what you’re saying, or filtering too heavily, then this can make you feel doubtful, uncertain and lack in confidence. Finding the right balance between standing your ground in meetings, speaking your mind and maintaining your professionalism can enhance your confidence levels, together with personally viewing the verbal and non-verbal feedback from others.

Know your Subject

If we are asked to do an on the spot presentation regarding a topic we know nothing about, then we quickly get filled with dread and the lack of confidence will hold us back. However, doing a presentation, or meeting a client regarding a topic you are confident of, are well versed in and you know a lot about will send your confidence levels sky high.

Learning more can help to build your self-esteem and confidence levels. Understanding your role in work, reading about your clients, their goals and objects and so forth can put you in a place of power when you meet.  Acting on what you know can instil confidence in both you, and others.

Social Dynamics

Here’s’ a test for you. In the workplace try and say “good morning” to 10 people before 12pm. This process and achievement will send your mood and self-worth soaring up. More often than not you will get a pleasant response back which provides you with a strong and confident platform for the day ahead.

This simple social dynamic is a quick and easy way to boost confidence levels, then underpin this with a smile. People with confidence tend to smile more, however this is a learned skill, so you can learn it too. 

Greeting others and smiling first will not only boost your confidence, but improve others perception of you. Greeting people and smiling is attractive, this makes you more appealing, easier to work with and the ‘go-to’ person for confidence to be reflected.

Walk with Lions

If you surround yourself with confident and positive people, then this will help you exude confidence. Being around co-workers that know how to encourage and motivate you is a real confidence booster. Compliments and words of encouragement on a daily basis helps to strengthen your evolving confidence levels. These co-workers will be invaluable when you need to meet with potential customers and clients.

If you are surrounded with people who criticise you too much, then this will hijack your floundering confidence repeatedly. Managing your time in work around individuals who you can feed off, gain experience from and evolve with can vastly improve your confidence, your self-worth as well as your working performance.


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