How to appear confident at work when you feel anything but

How to appear confident at work when you feel anything but

01/25/2023

There are many reasons confidence might be lacking in the workplace.

It might be a previous toxic boss who put you down, a particularly difficult professional set-back, or simply self-doubt creeping in once again (we’re looking at you, imposter syndrome).

But it can come down to biology, too.

In fact, some people are hard-wired to be less confident than others, according to psychologist Emma Kenny.

She explains: ‘If you are born with a sensitive disposition temperament, rather than a confident one, then when you are in work you’re going to be more aware of your surroundings, the impact on other people and the credibility of your work.

‘Whereas if you have a more confident disposition, then it’s more likely you’ll have a natural exuberance at work.’

Emma stresses that a lack of workplace confidence can come down to nature, but it can also be related to experience – or lack of.

She continues: ‘Some of it comes down to our age and experience, because longevity in a position bolsters confidence – whether you have a sensitive temperament or otherwise. So the more time you get used to your work, the more you have affirmation that you’re good at your work.’

If you’re having a confidence crisis at work, or perhaps you’ve always struggled with it, experts share some tips for channeling more self-belief this year.

Try to get to the root of the issue

Trying to understand why you’re lacking in confidence could be the first step for overcoming it, says Pippa Ruxton – a career and leadership coach at Polygon Coaching.

Perhaps it was a horrible manager who put you down, or a meeting that went really wrong.

‘Take a step back,’ Pippa suggests. ‘Recognise the patterns of emotions going on and what’s triggering the low confidence. 

‘Writing it down helps you see what’s actually going on more clearly; and talking it through with someone is even better.’

Put on a ‘confidence cloak’

Emma says there really is power in the old saying ‘fake it until you make it’ – and a practical way of doing this is to think of it as putting on a ‘confidence cloak.’

She explains: ‘People will reflect what they see. So if you come across as smiley, pleasant, engaged and enthusiastic – even if you’re feeling timid and scared inside – the world will pick up that you’re acting in a certain way and will reinforce and reflect this.

‘Over time it means you’ll get a lot of reward for those actions – and it becomes more natural.’

The more you put on this confidence cloak, the more it will become second nature – and you’ll train yourself to do this naturally.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

The more prepared you feel, the more confident you’ll be.

This is where rehearsing comes in.

Sure, it might feel a little strange rehearsing questions and conversations, but experts say it really does help.

Emma adds: ‘Rehearsal prepares us and allows us to practice for any anxiety we may feel, and allows us to think exactly about what the aim of what we are trying to achieve it – which can help us focus.’

Rehearsing body language is a really powerful tool as well – so practice having open posture and a friendly smile.

Log your achievements

If you’re partial to self-doubt, ask yourself what is going well, says Pippa.

She adds: ‘Keep a folder of positive feedback that you can look through. Use that as evidence of your strengths and what makes your uniquely placed to do your job.

‘Now apply those strengths and think about the support you need to fill any gaps.’

Silence your inner critic – and just be yourself

‘Take note when your inner voice is being more negative than the reality of things,’ says Liz Villani, a career coach and HR expert.

‘Confidence is a choice – so decide to be your own champion, you know best what your skills are and where you can learn more – all without self deprecation.’

Liz also stresses to not only be yourself, but be your best self at work.

She adds: ‘When we try to imitate others, people see through this and we feel like imposters which will lead to a confidence crisis. 

‘It’s OK to be different and people love positive authenticity. Do your best and be you.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

Source: Read Full Article