How to Build Confidence at Work

Written by Calvin Bowers

When many people start a new job they can feel a little intimidated and out of their depth in their new surroundings. It is natural to feel slightly overwhelmed at first and this will normally dissipate after a while of being there and learning what is expected from them. 

Many people assume that everyone else in their workplace has more confidence than them but actually, others struggle with self-doubt as well as impostor syndrome. They just do a good job of hiding it from the view of others and managing to project an air of confidence. It is a classic case of “faking it until you make it.” As strange as it may sound, pretending you have confidence can actually lead to you building up your confidence levels. There are some actions you can take to help this process to happen more quickly. 

Dress for Success

When people hear the phrase “dress for success”, they sometimes think of big shoulder pads and 80s suits. “Power dressing” doesn’t have to be something from a cliche film where someone works their way to the top despite the machinations of a boss who sabotages them at every turn. Instead it can be clothing that makes you feel good, polished and well-turned-out.

Nowadays it is a lot more acceptable to bring your own personal style into the office than it has ever been. There is even an acknowledged style called CorpGoth which is short for “Corporate Goth” for people who lead a gothic lifestyle who want to bring their penchant for darker fashion into the office environment. As long as your clothing is smart, you can bring a lot of yourself into the workplace without censure from management. 

This can help to break down the mental boundary between where you are vibrant and confident (home) and where you are perhaps not so confident (work) and allow you to bring your confidence from your own environment into work.

Be sure to dress smartly for conferences and the like when you will be interacting and networking with more people from your wider industry. If there is a smart-casual dress code in your office, boost your confidence by always erring on the smart side of smart-casual. 

Invest in Your Own Personal Development

You curate your own life and ultimately your happiness. If you are feeling overwhelmed or that you lack an essential skill in order to feel more confident in your workplace, do something about it. There are many training providers both online and offline who can equip you with the information and skills that you feel you are currently lacking. Taking control of our own upskilling can feel very empowering. 

Some of the options may be free and some may be paid, some may give accreditations and qualifications at the end of them, which you can use when applying for career advancement or other jobs in the future. The best investments you will ever make are in yourself, so don’t be afraid to put in the time and the effort to gain the skills and experience that you need. 

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Volunteer for things that scare you. If you have a fear of public speaking, do your best to conquer it by volunteering to do the next presentation. If you can co-present with someone else, it will make it easier and before long you will realise that you don’t fear public speaking any more.

Remember that others have the same fears so volunteering to do something like this also marks you out as someone who has confidence and the drive to take on the difficult tasks. You never know, this may be the moment that your boss sees your potential and decides you need to move up the ladder at the company. 

Being able to face down your fears and take them head on is cause for confidence and your real confidence will increase every time you do this. 

Focus on Your Strengths

It can be easy to let your focus wander to the areas that you feel you are getting things wrong but it is actually a lot more healthy to focus on the things you are doing well and getting right. You will have many transferable skills and skills that are specific to the job that you are doing and there is no good reason to focus on the negatives in this way. 

If you feel that you are failing in a particular area, you can focus on making sure the rest of your work is as good as it can possibly be and figure out how to be more productive at work to offset any problem areas.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

The most successful people in working environments are those who are clear about what they are looking to achieve and how they are going about it. Never be afraid to ask for some help if you feel that a task is unclear or if you are unsure how to do a specific thing. Ask work friends for a steer on how to do it and if you are still stuck, ask your line manager for a better explanation. 

This is a good way of showing initiative and that you refuse to remain stuck on something when you can ask for help to find a solution. Your manager will almost certainly treat your request with much more respect than if they had to chase something up weeks later to find out why it hadn’t been done.   

Sometimes being able to say openly that you don’t understand how to do something can actually be interpreted as a form of confidence. Having the ability to tell your line manager that you require their assistance in understanding something can be a hard thing to do but will be worth it in the great majority of cases, as you will get to the bottom of the problem, and increase your standing with your superiors for having done so.

Go to Top