“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” – E. E. Cummings
Curiosity, wonder, and spontaneous delight – who doesn’t want that? Confidence, or believing in yourself, is an important key to success, and to life in general. Some people may think of confidence in the binary, as something you either have or don’t have. But that’s not true! Confidence is actually a soft skill that can be honed and developed over time.
But why is it important to have confidence at work? There are a myriad of answers to that question. Below, we’ll explore the traits of confident people, factual benefits of confidence at work and reasons why it’s important, as well as practical ways for you to become more confident in the workplace.
First of all, what does a confident person look like? What traits comprise this kind of self-assured, sure-footed person? Read on for some universal confident person characteristics!
People often assume that self-confidence and self-esteem are the same thing, but that’s not exactly the case. Self-confidence refers to the faith you have in your own abilities. Self-esteem, on the other hand, deals more with an intrinsic sense of self.
According to Psychology Today, “ to be self-confident is to trust in oneself, and, in particular, in one’s ability or aptitude to engage successfully…with the world,” while self-esteem is “the matrix through which we think, feel, and act, and reflects and determines our relation to ourselves, to others, and to the world.” Why is self-esteem important? Simply put, because it informs the way you think and behave, especially as that relates to motivation and success.
Alright, but what are we really talking about here? Why is being confident important in the workplace? According to an Indeed survey, 94% of employees said that confidence is vital to complete daily tasks at work and believe it’s a major contributor to overall career growth. Not only that, but 98% of those surveyed said that they perform better when they feel more confident. Another study by the University of Melbourne found that those who described themselves as confident were consistently performing better in terms of wages and overall career development.
Like we said, there are many answers to this question. Below are just a few examples of why confidence is so massively important on the job.
Fear gets you behind, confidence gest you ahead! When you’re confident, you will naturally take on more responsibility and bigger tasks, expanding your output.
When you’re not bogged down by fear and inhibitions, you can more clearly and effectively express your opinions and ideas. No matter your industry or profession, communication is key. Therefore, if you’re confident and communicating clearly, you’re more likely to succeed.
Respect isn’t free! You have to earn it with hard work and — you guessed it — confidence. If you know your worth as both a person and an employee, your colleagues will absolutely respect you for it.
When you’re confident in the workplace, you’re taken more seriously. Your peers trust you, your superiors trust you. This, in turn, helps you advance your career. Prove to your colleagues that you can handle it! Be confident, take charge, and you’re sure to get ahead.
What is your confidence up against? There are many factors in the workplace that can seem like they’re out to attack your confidence. Maybe you’re new to the job, in a new environment surrounded by new people, and you don’t want to screw up. That’s understandable! Maybe you feel like you’re underqualified and don’t have room to be confident. Many people struggle with different types of fear in the workplace — everything from fear of humiliation to fear of being let go — and that can certainly hurt your confidence. Or maybe you are just really hard on yourself, not giving yourself enough room to act confidently.
Do any of these issues sound familiar to you? Being self-confident isn’t easy, but if you’re aware of the challenges you’re up against, you’ll be better prepared to tackle them and emerge victorious as a more confident person!
Remember what we said about confidence being a soft skill that you can hone and develop? Looking for some confidence building exercises in the workplace? Well, good news, you’re in the right place! We’ve complied some simple yet effective self-confidence exercises for you to up your confidence game!
Say it loud, say it proud! Sometimes called “affirmations,” putting your goals into words can have a powerful psychological effect. Whether you write your goals down in your journal or make a point of saying out loud what you intend to accomplish around your colleagues, studies have found that you are more likely to confidently pursue your goals when you’ve clearly stated them in the first place.
When you know what you do well, it makes you a better and more valuable employee. It also gives you a sense of pride! Did your boss mention an upcoming project for which you know you’d be a great fit? That’s identifying your strengths. When you speak up and tell your boss that you’d be happy to take on this challenge, that’s capitalizing on your strengths! And it’s sure to help you succeed in your career.
Research by social psychologist Amy Cuddy has shown that “power posing,” or standing in a strong and confident way (even when you don’t feel like it) increases testosterone (the power hormone) and decreases cortisol (the stress hormone.) There are many power poses out there, but you could try “the wonder woman,” with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips, or “the CEO,” sitting with your feet propped up on a desk and your hands clasped behind your head. We’re feeling more confident already!
Knowledge undeniably begets confidence. When you’re more educated on what you’re talking about or doing, the more self-assured you’ll be. So consider increasing your knowledge in the tools, software and skills related to your job.
Putting on more professional clothes for your workday (even if you’re just in Zoom meetings all day) can positively affect how you feel about yourself and how you act, not to mention how others view you. Think about your current professional wardrobe…it may be time for some shopping!
Ever heard the old saying “fake it till you make it”? It’s not just a saying; there are actual studies to back it up! Research has found that in a given scenario, those who act like they know what they’re doing (even if they don’t) are more likely to receive a positive feedback loop from their peers and therefore develop actual confidence along the way. So get out there and strut your stuff!
A lot of us in the workforce today may be conditioned to think, “But what if this doesn’t work?” Reframe that negative thought! Try instead, “…But what if it does work?” Ideating doesn’t have to give you the worst-case scenario. Basically, tell the mean voice in your head to quiet down. You got this!
In conclusion, it’s important to have confidence in the workplace because you are far more likely to succeed. You’ll communicate more effectively, earn the respect of your colleagues, increase your productivity, and get ahead in your career as a whole. And don’t worry if you aren’t feeling confident yet. Try working on the skills and exercises above to hone that ever-important soft skill and soon, as E. E. Cummings says, you’ll be basking in curiosity, wonder, and spontaneous delights!
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