How To Build Confidence at Work

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 May 2021

Confidence is a state of mind that describes being certain of your abilities and limitations. It is built on accomplishments and is also the key to success in any work. Most people would like to have confidence in everything that they do. It can be developed from feelings of acceptance and well being and can be improved through practice, training, knowledge and self-belief. In this article, we discuss what confidence is, why it's important, how to build confidence at work and give tips on how to build your confidence.

What is confidence and why is it important?

Confidence is the ability to trust in your knowledge and perform various tasks, roles and functions. Confidence is attractive to people. To be confident is to know what you're good at, your skills and capabilities and being able to convey that to others.

Confidence is important for success at work. When employers are looking to hire or promote a candidate, the applicant's confidence becomes an important deciding factor, along with related soft-skills like professionalism, enthusiasm and interpersonal skills. Confident employees are favoured by employers as they make great role models with their positive contributions and motivations. Often brand images are built by confident employees in customer facing roles.

How to build confidence at work

Confidence is crucial for success in your career. To build confidence at work you have to first develop your own self-confidence. This can mean different things to different people. Having self-confidence would indicate that you are confident in your knowledge and abilities and can take steps to pursue more opportunities in your career.

Confidence to perform tasks at work can vary with situations. Some days you can be more confident while at times you might be uncertain and can have anxiety at work. Building up your confidence will help you to improve your performance and work on those issues. Follow these steps to build confidence at work:

1. Focus on your strengths

Focus on your achievements, abilities and strengths. List all your positive qualities, experiences and skills that you can bring to the workplace. Recognise your uniqueness. As you become more aware of your individual experiences, success and capabilities, you will realise the advantages that you have to offer. This helps to build your confidence.

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2. Attend professional training and learn new skills

Add to your qualifications and upskill through professional courses. Your overall confidence can be boosted if you develop your skills in the areas that you want to achieve success. Attending professional development training programmes on project management, leadership, a foreign language or skills training like learning new software, coding or courses on SEO, can all influence your overall confidence level. Applying your skills based knowledge will increase productivity and increase your confidence at work.

3. Set goals for your success

Identify the goals that you want to achieve in your career and work towards them. Setting career goals will help you grow your overall skills and capabilities. As any progress is always gradual, focus on both short and long term career goals to measure your success. When you measure every small success on the path of higher career aspirations, it develops your confidence. You can measure how much of your efforts have paid off in achieving your bigger goals and potentials.

For example, you might set a bigger goal of improving your project management skills. You might then set smaller goals to reach this bigger objective. Smaller goals could be to improve your communication or time management skills. Once you find success in the smaller immediate goals, it will build up your confidence in achieving success in the bigger goal, in this case, of improving your project management skills. Such steps will help to boost your confidence in achieving your objectives.

4. Dress confidently for success

Dressing professionally is important for displaying confidence. Match your dressing to the office business code. Typically in the corporate world, dressing is formal and also dictated by the company's work culture.

Dressing in professional business attire conveys an element of confidence when you are performing your job and interacting with colleagues and clients at work. If you work in a creative industry you will have a greater opportunity to be flexible in your dressing options. However, at important workplace events like board meetings or presentations, casual dressing is not the norm and you may be expected to dress in formal business attire.

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5. Leave your comfort zone and ask questions

Step out of your comfort zone to focus on your skills. Leaving your comfort zone might be tough but doing so presents you with an opportunity that you might have missed otherwise. For example, you might not be comfortable with public speaking and the attention you get as a speaker. You can move out of your comfort zone and show initiative by volunteering to give a presentation to your team about the goals for the next quarter and explain how each teammate could contribute. Being assertive will boost your self-confidence.

You can ask questions to your colleagues or team about any clarifications that they might need or you have. Your co-workers might also need directions to boost their self-confidence at work. Reach out to them by moving out of your comfort zone. Ask them questions about the issues and challenges they are facing and determine how you can help them. Doing this regularly will promote a sense of self-confidence both for you and your teammate.

6. Change your viewpoint

Focus on the impact that you have on others at the workplace. Getting too concerned with the opinions and thoughts of others can be overwhelming and can deplete your confidence. Instead, bring your attention to how you can influence others. This positive thought will improve your effectiveness as you understand it is what you do that matters.

7. Model the body language of confident peers

Observe the habits of successful people who appear confident in their jobs. See how they interact and behave. Incorporate some of their mannerisms and strategies into your own practice at work. This will boost your self-confidence. By projecting assertiveness in your posture like how you stand or speak and developing your body language, you can start taking greater pride in yourself at work and contribute to your overall sense of confidence.

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8. Learn from your mistakes

On the path of your career trajectory, mistakes are inevitable. It's important to understand and evaluate the mistakes, whether it was a specific mistake, a careless one or due to external factors. Learning from your mistakes and then applying the new information to avoid the error in the future can help you to reflect and build up your confidence.

9. Avoid being overly critical and acknowledge your achievements

Being overly critical of yourself can lead to self-doubt. At work, it's important to eliminate negative thoughts or language. Build confidence by determining the way you assess yourself. Practice positive thoughts and self-affirming techniques like assessing how far you have achieved your goals or how you have upgraded your professional skills and technical knowledge from where you began. Continue to evaluate and journal how far you have reached in your career and the positive career moves that you have made.

Acknowledge your achievements at work. Positive reaffirmation of your work performance is crucial. Give yourself praise even for minor achievements. Be mindful of realistic targets and appreciate how you've managed to overcome obstacles to complete tasks assigned to you or how you exceeded the manager's expectations. Even acknowledging minor successes at work, will help in developing your feelings of self-worth and confidence.

Tips to build confidence

Here are some tips for confidence building in the workplace:

Be patient

It takes time to monitor career progress and grow through professional development. You can track your career progress by keeping personal records or using spreadsheets. It is important to set realistic schedules and timelines to reach your personal and professional goals.

Remain persistent

Career goals and aspirations continue to evolve. Set a goal and work towards it. Change is constant, so adapting your goals to changing circumstances will help. When you set a goal, break it up into smaller parts which helps you to monitor your progress. Persistence in your actions and plans will ensure progress towards building confidence.

Self-assessment and reflection

Having a growth oriented mindset sets the foundation for self-assessment and reflection. If you can perceive yourself positively while overcoming obstacles, accepting challenges and acknowledging success, you are sure to develop greater confidence at the workplace. Try to quantify your accomplishments and write down your goals. This will build your confidence as you monitor your progress.