8 ways to be more confident at work

This article first appeared in Goodhousekeeping.co.uk (and was most definitely written by me!).

Do you feel under-confident in your workplace? Feeling under-confident not only decreases your job satisfaction but it can also impact your progress and prospects.

But it doesn’t have to be that way and what better to time to adopt a new attitude at work than at the start of a new year?

Firstly, we need to understand that under-confident people are obsessed by the impact others have on them. By becoming aware of the impact we have on others, however, we put ourselves back in control.

Here are 8 tips to boost your confidence at work…

1. Assume you’re not being exploited.
Feeling exploited is an attitude that’s hard to shift because we spend our time looking for evidence, which we usually find. Yet such feelings are corrosive because they spiral you down rather than build you up. So, whatever your role, reframe it by considering yourself a ‘work in progress’. If you feel that way now, remember that you’re working your way towards something.

2. Be conscientious.
Not working hard, possibly as a result of being under-motivated, is a one-way street in the wrong direction. It’s de-energizing – lowering your motivation, undermining your wellbeing and sapping your confidence. So do the opposite: work hard – not least because confidence is a direct result of effort.

3. Have a plan.
Plans are always motivating, although we need to think long-term – maybe even five or 10 years ahead. Of course, under-confident people can struggle to generate long-term plans they believe in, so they should generate a series of yearly milestones – each doable but each a definite step towards their long-term objective.

4. Don’t undermine yourself.
If we are over modest or self-deprecative, we can inadvertently lower others’ expectations of us. We need to be clever by not talking ourselves down, while avoiding immodesty. Over time, we’ll get noticed. And, even if we don’t, we’re still in a better place mentally.

5. Understand your company.
Intimately knowing the company or organisation you work for is vital: who runs the organisation, what is its history, what about the sector (including rivals)? And don’t forget the technicalities: you need to get under the bonnet and take an interest. Disinterest may reveal your total disregard for the sector you’re in, which is bound to sap your confidence.

6. Get yourself known.
This doesn’t mean marching upstairs and introducing yourself to the seniors. But it does mean being friendly and open to meeting people. Most organisations are networks of people, and most people are keen to know those they work with. It’s also a great use of all that information you’ve gathered – turning names into faces and departments into people.

7. Avoid ‘affected uselessness’.
Strict boundaries with respect to your job role can prevent you expanding your horizons. Too often, we demarcate ourselves – becoming reluctant to go beyond our brief because of some perceived boundary. This is especially the case with jobs we feel are beneath us, which in reality is no more than a sulky refusal to lower ourselves: a classic under-confident reaction. So we should embrace all the roles – tea making included.

8. Enjoy your job.
Scan an office and those that enjoy their job are engaged, positive, forthcoming, proactive and cheerful. They also ooze confidence: a result of their happy employment. Those that don’t enjoy their job are, conversely, distracted, defensive, pessimistic, reactive and mostly grumpy. Scratch the surface, and most also harbour insecurities regarding their competence – often masked through constantly blaming others. Being on the wrong side of this fence is soul destroying and confidence sapping, so choose enjoyment over all other considerations (including money).

Courtesy of bestselling, self-help author Robert Kelsey whose titles include What’s Stopping You Being More Confident?

www.robertkelsey.co.uk

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