Confidence is contagious. Showing confidence in yourself sets the tone for a positive work day for you and for those around you–especially if you are in a position of leadership such as a team or project leader. On the other hand, if others sense insecurity in you, they may have doubt in their own abilities and possibly feel like they won’t get the support they need from you. Portray yourself as the kind of leader you look up to. Others will appreciate and thrive under leaders who are sure of themselves. In addition to having an impact on others, your self-confidence will benefit your personal and professional development. You will feel more comfortable taking risks, trying new things, and you will grow as an employee.
How do you build confidence?
Know the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence. These are two different concepts despite the terms sometimes being used interchangeably. Self-esteem is the feeling of one’s value toward themselves. Self-confidence is a sense of capability to do certain things. Because self-confidence is linked to actions that can be performed, it’s especially important to have in the workplace. The two can go hand in hand as having high self-esteem can boost one’s self-confidence, but it is important to distinguish them in order to know how to build both.
Avoid answering questions with a questioning tone. Have you ever noticed in class that when an instructor asks a question, some students have a tendency to respond with the same vocal tone that is used when asking a question? Maybe you do it too. This is a sign of insecurity and an indication that you are not confident in your answer–it acts almost like a form of protection in the event that you are wrong. Many people don’t realize they are doing it. Take a pause to think before answering a question. Be assertive and respond as if already know the answer (even if you don’t). If you happen to be wrong, that’s okay! An incorrect answer is just another opportunity to learn.
Use criticism and critiques as opportunities for self-reflection, not self-doubt. It can be tough to hear that your performance needs improvement, especially from someone you look up to. But these are situations to practice your listening skills, accept those comments, and show yourself and those around you the determination that you have to do better. When others notice your effort to improve, that will be far more memorable to them than any mistake you’ve made. It’s also important to embrace the value of performance evaluations, which many companies conduct on a regular basis. These will give you a chance to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and practice what you can do better going forward.
Fake it ‘til you make it. Not everyone will feel their best all the time, and that’s perfectly understandable. But sometimes you just have to put on your best smile. In a new work situation, you will encounter many new people, including coworkers, superiors, or maybe customers or clients. How people perceive often represents the company or organization as a whole. Putting your best self out there conveys a positive impression of not only you but those with whom you work. Plus, who knows, a smile that started out as fake may turn into a real smile. It may take practice and a bit of time to master the art of building your self-confidence, but in the end, it will pay off for you as well as those around you.