How to be More Confident at Work


Do you remember back in school that there was always a popular and confident person who seemed to get the most attention from the teacher. They would always be the first ones to put up their hands to be chosen to speak, despite the fact that they didn't always get the answer right! Invariably, they would also be the ones who would be chosen for team games and given extra responsibility in class.

Let’s now fast-forward 20 years and you might well find that same person in your own company, having now been promoted rapidly through various management levels to a senior management position of influence.

You try to persuade yourself that it doesn’t matter but it does because you just know that you are really more capable than they are and, to you, they just seem to be arrogant. But nobody else seems to think this way other than you! Sound familiar?

However, you know in your heart that everyone is different and just because someone is ‘confident’, it doesn’t necessarily make them ‘competent’.

Research Study

I was interested to read the other day of a study of more than 500 students, academics and workers, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology which showed that those who appeared more confident achieved a higher social status than their peers.

The results showed that within a working environment, higher status individuals tended to be more admired, listened to and had more influence over group decisions. Prof. Cameron Anderson of the University of California who led the research, said that, as a result, ‘incompetent people are often promoted over their more competent peers’. He went on to say that ‘those who were super confident often sought power, fame and success and that this over confidence was encouraged by the prospect of increased social status, esteem and respect.’

So it would seem that in many organisations, individuals who exhibit high levels of confidence, even though that confidence may be unjustified, nevertheless often attain promotion over less confident colleagues.

The point being that we all need to face the fact that self-confidence is essential in influencing others whose perception will be that you are efficient, knowledgeable and a good communicator. That perception can often lead to a quicker progression up the ladder of promotion.

Of course, there are many reasons why you can lack confidence at work.

Maybe you’re in a job that requires skills that you just don’t have or you’re less experienced than those around you. Maybe you’re the ‘new kid on the block’ and feel a little insecure, or maybe you’re in fear of losing your job because you feel that everyone else around you is just that bit smarter than you. However, many of these feelings merely come from a loss of self-confidence.

Let’s look at ways that you can become more self-assured and increase your confidence.

§  Identify your personal strengths and build on them: integrate these into everything you do

§  Recognise your weaknesses and work on a plan to minimise them

§  Believe in yourself: tell yourself ‘I can, and will, do this’ and
believe it!’

§  Celebrate your successes: shout your achievements from the rooftops

§  Acknowledge that your confidence may sometimes be threatened: accept it and move on

§  Seek encouragement from others: elicit feedback and modify your approach, if necessary

§  Challenge yourself: set yourself goals and targets that are achievable and work until you attain them!

§  Be a role model of ‘optimistic attitude’: others are drawn to those who
constantly exhibit an upbeat mindset

§  Think about how your boss sees you: try and read their mind in order to be
one step ahead

It is true that some people are naturally more confident than others but don’t let that stop you from being recognised for your unique qualities and strengths. Stay on target and focused. Confidence comes from hard work combined with an optimum attitude manifested by ‘the glass being half full, not half empty’.

Be sure, however, not to appear arrogant when achieving success. Inner confidence is about being humble and proud at the same time. Then people will like and then watch that promotion come winging your way!


1.    Confidence doesn’t equal competence

2.    Believe in yourself and promote your strengths

3.    Inner confidence is not about being arrogant

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]


Carole Spiers


Author of "Show Stress Who's Boss" Carole is a leading authority on workplace stress, sought after BBC guest-Broadcaster and motivational speaker. She shows managers and staff how to maintain their competitive advantage by achieving a healthy work life balance.

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