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Try these 7 tips to feel more confident at work

April 19, 2022 - 12 min read

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Why do we feel shy in the workplace?

Why is self-confidence important in the workplace?

6 ways to build confidence at work

7 tips to feel more confident

Moving forward

You can stick to your comfort zone at work, not taking charge of new projects or putting yourself out there. If you're working from home, it can feel even more tempting. You might have a lot of reasons for staying safe, but often the big reason is that you don't feel confident at work.

Unfortunately, backing off isn't going to improve your confidence. By doing this, you put yourself in the corner, where you'll remain unnoticed. 

But that’s not how we grow. You’ll learn and grow your skills when you take on new challenges. That includes boosting your confidence at work. 

Improving your self-confidence requires more than jamming your self-talk with positive affirmations. And you won't learn self-confidence by strutting around like you own the place. It’s about challenging our insecurities, working through moments of self-doubt, and crushing our inner critic so that we can grow into our potential. 

Temporary confidence boosters are out there, but we’re going to teach you how to build lasting confidence and why it’s important.

Why do we feel shy in the workplace?

By definition, shyness is the tendency to feel awkward or worry about the social encounters we have. This can especially be true with people we don’t know very well. It can happen to everyone in a variety of severities too. Some are more overwhelming, while others can be quick and don’t leave us as tense.

Shyness stems from several different areas. Perhaps you were bullied as a kid and had a hard time putting yourself out there. Or, maybe you’re uncomfortable using your voice because of previous embarrassment when public speaking.

Shyness can be caused as early as our childhood. Studies have found that children who have parents that are shy or have anxiety disorders have a greater risk of developing the same behaviors.

In our teenage years, when we experience things like embarrassment or rejection can cause us to feel shy in future encounters. Other facts like socioeconomic status, body confidence issues, and having more of a negative mindset also cause shyness. 

Maybe you don’t even recognize that your shyness holds you back in your work environment. Here are four potential factors behind a lack of workplace confidence: 

  1. You have less experience than everyone else around you
  2. You’re the newest hire and don’t know your team members well yet
  3. Your new team members intimidate you, and you’re nervous about speaking up
  4. Your inner critic is ruthless and you beat yourself up instead of practicing self-compassion

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Why is self-confidence important in the workplace?

Our work environment is where we have the opportunity to learn new skills. We’re met with challenges all the time, so why not approach them with confidence?

Confidence has been found to be an influential factor in environments where performance matters. When you have a tight deadline at work, your confidence is important for how well you perform and accomplish your tasks. Rather than succumb to the pressure and not believe you can finish your work on time, your confidence helps you rise up.

Confident people are self-assured. They can face big challenges because they believe in themselves and their abilities. When you’re confident, new projects are exciting — not intimidating. Confident people also recognize other employees and try their best to uplift others in the process. 

It’s also important for personal growth. Without confidence, you won’t be motivated to reach new heights. Your insecurities and comfort zone would hold on too tightly, and you won’t grow. 

Our levels of self-confidence have also been linked to our ability to cope with change and pressure. Another impactful factor that boosts our self-confidence is our relationships with others. Our friends, family, and coworkers can uplift us to believe in ourselves and our abilities.

People can rely on their supportive relationships to learn, grow, and face challenges head-on. At work, this is an important quality to have. Some days you might feel quite challenged. But with a supportive team behind you, you’re motivated to keep moving forward.

Confidence in the workplace translates to the rest of your life, too. You may just find yourself feeling more self-assured in personal relationships and experiencing a smoother work-life balance.

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6 ways to build confidence at work

If you could snap your fingers and suddenly be confident, you likely would. But that’s just not possible.  Here’s what you can do: put in the work to develop a lasting skill.

Here are six ways to build your confidence at work:

1. Start small

You can’t expect to be a social butterfly around the office starting tomorrow. Plus, you don’t want to overhaul your entire identity.  Begin by implementing small changes. For instance, work on having good posture and making eye contact with people.

The right body language projects confidence. Rather than aim for the most significant goals right away, begin in a way that feels right for you.

2. Learn to ask questions

No one knows everything. If your lack of confidence is because you don’t think you know as much as others, try asking effective questions. As a side benefit, increasing your knowledge will prevent mistakes. Use your voice as an empowering tool and find answers for yourself. You’ll feel a lot better knowing that you made an effort to understand things better and did the job properly. 

3. Dress with comfort

When you wear work-appropriate clothes that you feel comfortable in, you’ll feel more put together. Overwhelmed by options? Try coming up with a capsule wardrobe of a few essential, timeless outfits. That way, you won’t have to stress over the fit of your clothes or how they look. 

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4. Remember your strengths

You were hired because of your skills. You bring value to your workplace — and that’s true even when you feel like you can’t contribute as much in one area as others. Take time to write down what makes you strong and an asset to your team Remembering your strengths will boost your feeling of self-worth. And, it serves as a powerful reminder that you belong exactly where you are. 

If you’re starting a new job and you aren’t sure how to put your best foot forward, BetterUp can help. They’ll provide the guidance you need to harness your strengths and skills and build the confidence you want to achieve.

5. Accept your mistakes and failures

Nobody can constantly do things right on the first try. Errors and setbacks are inevitable when you setback set new goals and take on new challenges. But that’s all part of personal development. The key is to learn from your mistakes and accept your failures. Aim to achieve self-awareness rather than being hard on yourself.  

6. Find a trusted mentor

Take a look around your work environment. A mentor is a great person to bounce ideas off and explain your problems to. Finding someone who takes the time to share career advice or any tips and tricks that they’ve picked from their own experiences will help you.

Mentor-mentee relationships are a powerful way to meet your goals and feel empowered to put yourself out there more often. 

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7 tips to feel more confident

Developing new habits and strategies demand effort and energy. It also takes time. Keep these tips in mind as you strive to grow your confidence at work: 

  1. Keep a growth mindset while challenging yourself
  2. Be patient and trust the hard work you’re putting in
  3. Celebrate your big and small wins
  4. Trust yourself and your feelings
  5. Welcome opportunities for feedback
  6. Have a healthy dose of curiosity
  7. Eliminate negative language and replace it with a positive attitude

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Moving forward

Confidence isn’t developed overnight. It’s something you put effort toward each day. Some days you feel on top of the world. Other days you might feel like you want to hide. That’s okay. Progress isn’t linear. We all have good days and bad ones too. 

Beginning to realize that everyone has moments of self-doubt will help you not be too hard on yourself. You’re learning a skill that will touch so many aspects of your life beyond the workplace. One day you might surprise yourself with the confidence you’ve been brewing, so make sure you enjoy it.

Your journey towards being a confident person takes dedication and effort. BetterUp can provide the accountability you need to stay focused on your goals and be more confident at work.

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Published April 19, 2022

Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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