How to Improve Self-Confidence at Work

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Confidence is a mental attitude, a state of mind that can project self-assurance and a can-do attitude. High self-confidence can increase your chances for job security and advancement opportunities. If you lack self-confidence, your job performance may suffer. Fortunately, you can take specific steps to boost how you feel about yourself and your performance.

The Roots of Self-Doubt

  • Identifying the roots of low confidence is the first step toward raising your level of confidence. Low confidence can arise from a number of sources. Fear of the unknown, previous failures, inability to take criticism and poor time management can all contribute to low self-esteem. In addition, the seeds of low confidence may be sowed at an early age. Many people have an unrealistic image of perfection – psychologists call it ego ideal – that they they cannot live up to. Consequently, work performance suffers because you are never good enough to live up to that image.

Take a Personal Inventory

  • People with low self-confidence may have a hard time focusing on the accomplishments they have achieved, the goals they have reached and the milestones they have passed. Keep a notebook or file of your work activities and accomplishments. When it is time for a performance evaluation and dread begins to build because you're recalling your shortcomings and failures, reach for the file that describes your victories. Review these accomplishments occasionally to remind yourself that you do have value – as a person and as an employee.

Accept Who You Are

  • The process of accepting who you are -- including your weaknesses -- is called acceptance theory, according to psychologists. When you come face-to-face with your weaknesses and recognize them, your stress level drops. That's why sharing your feelings with a confidant – not your boss – can help to lower your anxiety level and lift a mental burden from your shoulders. Share your accomplishments, too. Your confidant may even suggest one or two that you have forgotten. With each of your fears, ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen to you. The consequences are probably much less than you imagined.

Overcoming Office Anxiety

  • Begin with small steps and tackle the things you fear. Then each time you achieve a measure of success, you develop resilience against that anxiety and are more prepared to take on a bigger challenge. Whether your fear is taking responsibility for a project, speaking before a group or communicating with people more influential than you, push yourself in small steps, making them larger each time. Keep a log of your achievements in your success file. Gradually, you will find that your confidence grows and as it does, you will become more successful and assertive in your workplace.



  • Photo Credit XiXinXing/iStock/Getty Images

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