Building Your Self-Confidence at Work

Many people wish they felt more secure about their abilities on the job. In other words, they’re looking for increased self-confidence when performing the work, dealing with coworkers, and handling challenging situations. If you’re one of these people, you’re not alone. What can you do to feel more self-assured about your job?

First, remember that you are not your job. If you make a mistake at work, this does not mean that you are stupid, worthless, or in the wrong position. It’s easy to take mistakes personally, seeing them as a reflection of your genuine person rather than for what it is: a mistake. Even though it may not always appear so, everyone makes mistakes from time to time. The best way to deal with a mistake is to own up to it right away and present a solution. This shows that you are honest, and by suggesting ways to fix the problem, your boss can send you on your way to deal with the issue. Acting honestly and straightforwardly is best for you–you’ll feel better about yourself–and best for the company (which again will help you feel better).

Another common issue is feeling insecure when it comes to coworkers. Many people think they do not fit in, are unsure how to handle conflict, or have an overbearing coworker or boss with whom they don’t know how to communicate. Any of these feelings can wear at your self-esteem. You may feel you have nothing to offer the group, whether socially or on projects; you avoid conflict and may allow others to step on you. If socialisation is a problem, it will require you to step out of your comfort zone a bit. This does not mean you need to jump in with a large company gathering; instead, take it slow by opening conversations with one or two coworkers. Chances are you’ll have something in common. Asking questions about the other person is always great; avoid questions with simple yes or no answers.

Learning some proven communication techniques may be necessary when dealing with conflict resolution and difficult employees. Consider attending a course on conflict resolution and dealing with difficult people. In the meantime, remember that the overbearing person likely has many insecurities, which cause the behaviour. Amid conflict, do your best to avoid being pulled into confrontational situations. Don’t reward the other person’s behaviour by getting upset or immediately backing down. If necessary, say you’ll continue the conversation when everyone has had a chance to cool down. Dealing with negative coworkers is never fun. Remember that your self-worth is not dependent on the coworker’s approval, even if that person is your boss.

It could be that you’re feeling unsure about your skills. This one is pretty easy–learn more! Many companies offer continuing education options, will pay for schooling, or offer in-house professional development. Whatever your employer provides, take advantage. If your company does not have this option, find some good books on the subject. Ask your colleagues for suggestions, or if you’re a member of any professional group, seek advice there as well. Your peers will have good tips on what’s worth looking into. 

Finally, give yourself some challenges. One great way to build self-confidence at work is to take on a particular project or extra work. If you choose something you feel passionate about or something in your speciality area, you can show yourself and your colleagues that you can produce results. Even if you fail, you show initiative and willingness by taking on special projects. Knowing that you put yourself out there, rather than sitting on the sidelines, can be a great confidence booster. And the same can be said for when it goes well.