Five Ways to Be More Confident at Work
On a scale of 1 to 10, from “very insecure about my work and expertise” to “incredibly confident in my work and expertise,” where do you fall?
According to the International Journal of Behavioral Science, 7 in 10 people experience “imposter syndrome,” or the belief that their success is due to luck rather than hard work or ability. In other words, most professionals are much closer to “1” on the spectrum than “10.”
In this post, we’ll share five actionable techniques for bolstering confidence in your work and worth.
1) Document everything
Make a habit of writing down every:
- Experiment you’ve run (even when they weren’t successful)
- Surprising conclusion you’ve come to
- Significant mistake you’ve made, as well as how you’ll avoid similar ones going forward or what you took away from it)
It sounds like a lot, but it’s really just a 30-minute exercise at the end of every month. The reminder to reflect is a bonus.
These notes will give you a fantastic overview of your work and professional progress, and they come in handy all the time: in performance reviews, during status meetings, for promotion or raise requests, etc. And, they’ll boost your confidence. With a written record of everything you’re achieving, you’re less likely to doubt yourself.
2) Don’t apologize (needlessly)
Saying “sorry” too much may be holding you back. When you apologize for tiny things, like starting to talk at the same time as someone else or mishearing what they said, you lessen the import of a true apology. And perhaps, more importantly, you seem less confident.
Pay attention to how frequently the leaders at your company say sorry. It’s not often—and when they do say it, the situation truly warrants it (A good gut test: if you’d want to hear “sorry” if you were in their shoes, you should say it.).
For small things, try these lines instead of apologizing:
- “Thanks for your [patience, time, recommendations.]”
- “Great call—I’ll try that [next time, going forward.]”
- “I appreciate you pointing that out. I meant to [say, write] X…”
- “That’s a good point. In that case…”
- “Oops.” (This is the closest to an apology I’ll voice, and I save it for bloopers like spilling my coffee or getting a date wrong.).
At first, it’ll require energy and attention to swap “sorry” with these alternatives. We promise it will get easier over time—and the payoff is irrefutably worth it.
3) Get comfortable with silence
Learning to embrace silence, rather than running from it screaming, will dramatically increase how confident others perceive you.
If you’re clearly comfortable with some silence now and then, you’ll seem more calm, collected, and in control—the three Cs. “Some” being the operative word—you don’t want to stop talking altogether or you’ll come across as the fourth C: creepy.
Introduce a pause during these scenarios:
- You’ve just said something meaningful. Going silent will emphasize your point and help the impact sink in.
- You’re listening to someone else talk. Taking a beat will show that you’re truly engaged (and it also gives them the opportunity to open up further, which they often will take!).
- You’re not happy with what someone else just said. Saying nothing is more effective than reacting and can prompt the person into reversing their decision.
4) Focus on your strengths
Dwelling on what you’re bad at or know little about will, unsurprisingly, make you feel worse about yourself.
On the flip side, thinking about what you’re good at and know a lot about will make you feel more confident.
The trouble is, we’re biologically wired toward the negative. Give someone two pieces of news—one fantastic and one horrible—and the horrible news will have a far greater impact on their mood.
That means you can’t expect your mind to keep objective track of your wins versus your losses. You need to train yourself to focus on your strengths.
We recommend sending yourself an email every night listing three things you accomplished that day, and reading it in the morning. It’s a wonderful way to start and end your day.
5) Work with a leadership coach
This last strategy is the most actionable. If hiring a leadership coach is in your budget (or your company’s), definitely think about it. A leadership coach can help you work on all the things, both large and small, that might be holding you back.
For example, maybe you struggle with eye contact or bad posture. Or maybe, on a more serious note, you freeze up every time you’re in a meeting with new people. The coach will work with you to identify these issues to lessen or eliminate them. The effects can last your entire career—which is why this is a great investment.
About Signature Consultants, LLC
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the ninth consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is named the 15th Largest IT Staffing Firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 29 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit https://www.sigconsult.com. Signature Consultants is the parent company to Hunter Hollis and Madison Gunn.