Feeling confident at work is key to a successful career. Once you believe in what you’re doing, others will too, and they’ll trust your decisions. However, for some people, that’s easier said than done.
The good news is building confidence at work is possible and doesn’t require a complete personality overhaul. If you need a confidence boost in your day-to-day routine, check out these proven tips.
Find a Mentor
An excellent mentor – someone who advises you on career decisions and even helps you navigate tricky situations – can be invaluable. Find a professional you think highly of and approach them as you would any other networking contact: by preparing in advance. Determine what you are looking for and think up a tentative schedule for how often you would like to meet. When contacting the person, briefly explain why you are seeking his/her guidance. Upon sitting down face-to-face, restate your thanks, and lay out your vision for the relationship.
Learn from Constructive Criticism
Criticism can be tough, especially if you focus on the negatives. Remind yourself of the benefits of receiving constructive criticism – namely to help you meet the expectations that your manager and others have of you. As the person shares feedback with you, listen carefully and focus on understanding his/her perspective. When he or she is finished, repeat back what you heard. For example, “I hear you saying that you want me to provide more detailed weekly reports, is that right?” Remember to thank the person for their feedback. Don’t gloss over this – be deliberate, and say, “I appreciate you taking the time to talk about this with me.”
Then, take steps to address the criticism. Once you feel like you have addressed the issue, request a time to follow up. Use your follow up time to go over the criticism you received and explain the steps you took toward improvement. Verify with this person that the issue has been resolved. A simple follow up demonstrates your initiative and desire for continuous improvement.
Assess Your Strengths
Write down all of the skills you bring to the table right now. Don’t forget to include broader talents that can help your organization succeed – now and in the future. Ask respected friends, co-workers or family members what they think are your three greatest strengths. Then work to incorporate those strengths into your job. Are you a good writer? Look for opportunities to create content. Do you have a great eye for design? Take some courses to learn graphic design software and look for ways to incorporate that into your daily routine.
Dress for Success
It’s easy to underestimate the effect of clothing; you may not realize that your wardrobe influences your confidence and mindset. A recent study found that the clothing you wear influences your cognitive processes broadly. In short, dress to impress: Revamp and rework outfits you already have, purchase the better-quality dress or suit, and make sure you feel like the best version of yourself in your new threads.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
You’ll never gain confidence at work by living in your comfort zone. Volunteer for a project that will help you build new skills. Apply for a job that feels like a stretch but matches your interests. Sign up to present or speak at an event and tackle your fear of public speaking head-on. Ideally, your mentor can offer guidance to help you succeed in a new venture.
Check out our Candidate Resource section for more articles and information on how to become the best you can be at your job (and life).