How To Be More Confident At Work (With Examples)

By Matthew Zane
Aug. 3, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

Having confidence at work can benefit you in many ways. You take more pride in the work you are doing and your coworkers tend to take you more seriously.

We’ll go over more benefits of being confident at work, some common confidence-detractors, and actionable tips to become more confident in the workplace today.

Key Takeaways:

  • When you are more confident at work you tend to feel better about yourself and the work you are doing.

  • When trying to be more confident, focus on the positive and focus on the skills you have rather than the ones you don’t have.

  • Asking questions about projects, and getting feedback from your boss or coworker is the best way to evaluate your work and gain confidence in what you’re doing.

How to be More Confident at Work With Examples

The Importance of Being Confident at Work

Being confident at work has several benefits, both personally and professionally:

  • You’ll feel better about yourself. When you’re not confident in yourself or your abilities, your self-esteem takes a big hit. Self-doubt can lead to anxiety and depression, and a lack of confidence at work can seep into your other relationships in unhealthy ways.

  • You’ll be taken more seriously. When a person speaks and acts with confidence, other people notice. If you want your colleagues to trust you enough to advance in your career, a shot of confidence will go a long way.

  • You’ll take on and achieve more. Those who lack confidence worry whenever a particularly challenging project comes across their desk. They certainly won’t go out of their way to try anything difficult.

    While this may protect them from short-term failures, it has long-term negative consequences for their careers because they’ll have fewer accomplishments to show off for promotions or job changes.

    This creates a feedback loop: you never accomplish anything major, so you have no confidence, so you never take on anything major, etc.

  • You’ll be seen as a leader. Managers and supervisors are always looking for leadership potential within their ranks. While several characteristics contribute to effective leadership, confidence is a foundational trait of any successful leader.

  • You’ll be trusted more. If you’re always diffident at work, supervisors will pick up on it. You’ll get smaller jobs and more oversight. Basically, self-doubt leads to others doubting you too.

    Again, this creates a negative feedback loop, where you have fewer outlets to gain confidence.

  • Your employer does better. Your employer benefits from higher levels of employee confidence. Business can proceed more efficiently and effectively if every worker, at every level of the company, has confidence in their ability to perform their tasks.

    It’s especially critical for those with client-facing roles to exude confidence; otherwise, customers will lose faith in the company as a whole.

How to be More Confident at Work

When you look around at confident people, you may think that it’s genetic – you either have it or you don’t. While it’s true that some people are naturally more confident than others, nothing is stopping you from building up your confidence levels.

Remember, this is not an overnight fix for all your confidence woes, but if you can implement some of the following tips into your life, you should start to feel a difference:

  1. Focus on the positive. Cut out any self-deprecating remarks or negative self-talk. If you often tell yourself you’re no good and can’t hack it, then you’ll start to believe it.

    Instead, use self-affirming language and techniques; tell yourself how awesome you are and focus on all your successes. Take time to celebrate your achievements and consider keeping a folder or document loaded with professional kudos you’ve gotten throughout your career.

    It’s something you can turn to in moments of doubt to remind yourself how well you’ve done so far.

  2. Up your skills. It’s easy to slide into feelings of incompetency when you feel your colleagues have more skills than you. Think about ways to develop your current skill set or add new, relevant skills to your arsena.

    When you can apply a newly-learned skill to your job or teach a coworker a new trick you learned, your confidence will get a big boost.

  3. Ask questions. Being curious at work won’t just enhance your confidence – it’ll also help you stand out as an engaged employee. We often lack confidence when we feel there’s a knowledge gap, but the worst thing you can do is carry on with a task you’re not sure how to do.

    You’ll probably do a worse job, and that’s not doing your confidence any favors. Remember, nobody has all the answers (that’s why companies are made up of more than one person).

  4. Body language tricks. Smile more, always make eye contact, and practice good posture, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you start to internalize those feelings of confidence.

    Practice power poses before a big meeting, like “The CEO” (feet on desk, leaning back, with your hands behind your head) or “The Wonderwoman” (hands on hips, legs slightly spread, back straight), and your body will react as though you’re the most confident person in the world.

    Also, pay attention to other nonverbal cues, like your tone of voice. Speak with strength and assertiveness (just don’t overcompensate and become obnoxious). Get rid of those “likes” and “ehms” from your speech ASAP.

  5. Get feedback often. This one’s good practice regardless of your confidence levels because it shows you care about your performance and want to be the best dang employee you can be.

    If you sit around waiting for kudos and constructive criticism, you may never get it and be left wondering how you’re doing. That’s not a recipe for confidence. Dispel those anxious thoughts with cold hard facts, right from the horse’s (supervisor’s) mouth.

  6. Be organized. Keeping your physical workspace tidy will inevitably make you feel more in control and better able to handle your tasks.

    Don’t stop with the physical space, though. Make to-do lists, organize your assignments in a way that makes sense for you, and track your successes (for that “kudos folder” we mentioned earlier).

    When you practice good organizational skills, you’ll feel a lot less frazzled at work, which is a good foundation for developing confidence.

  7. Seek out challenges. If you want to make life-long improvements to your confidence, you’ll have to leave your comfort zone. If you’re uncomfortable speaking up during meetings, make it a point to speak at least once each time, for example.

    This applies to bigger situations as well. Find ways to challenge yourself at work; when you accomplish something new, you’ll get a rush of confidence that will translate into more new challenges, which will further your confidence, etc.

    It’s also important to set goals for yourself, both short-term and long-term. When you track self-imposed goals like this, you’ll always have something to feel good about. Pushing yourself will also put you in line for a promotion before you know it.

  8. Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. Sit down and think about all the things you’re good at and set you apart as an individual. They don’t even necessarily have to be work-related. It’s harder to get bogged down with negativity when you always have your strengths at the forefront.

    Still, don’t be unrealistic in your assessment. It’s okay to have weaknesses and make mistakes. In fact, there wouldn’t be an opportunity for growth if it weren’t for them (which would make life very boring indeed).

    Especially essential tip: don’t compare yourself to others. When we get caught up with keeping up with the Joneses instead of our own definition of success, we’re never satisfied (and therefore never fully confident).

  9. Hang out with a supportive crowd. Some work environments are full of gossip, bullying, and all sorts of toxic behavior. Avoid these things like the plague – because, just like a plague, they’re contagious and harm the community.

    Instead, seek out colleagues with positive attitudes who will support your goals and not make you feel stupid when you need to ask questions or get some help. If you can’t find people like this in your workplace, you’ve got more significant problems than confidence.

  10. Fake it ‘til you make it. Dress for success, act cool and collected, and project a confident attitude, and people will believe it. Tackling imposter syndrome requires that you act the part before you feel entirely comfortable – that’s the best way to start feeling comfortable, anyway.

    Whether it’s a new job or a new set of responsibilities, it’s natural to feel a little wary about your abilities. But when you take on the challenge head-on and do your best, you’ll start feeling more confident each day.

Examples of Self Confidence in the Work Place

A few examples of workplace confidence include:

  • Identifying your weaknesses and finding ways to overcome them

  • Accepting praise and compliments when completing a project

  • Presenting your ideas and thoughts in meetings without fear of judgement

  • Taking on new challenges and projects you wouldn’t otherwise do

  • Accepting your strengths and weaknesses and working with them both

  • Doing the right thing, even it its not what others are doing

  • Working with coworkers you wouldn’t otherwise work with

Common Threats to Workplace Confidence

Confidence is not a static thing; it waxes and wanes through various situations and periods. Let’s take a look at some common things that can work against your confidence at work:

  • Fear of failure. Confidence’s natural enemy is fear. People can be afraid of success as well, but it’s far more common for employees to worry that they’ll do such a bad job that it will be an embarrassment.

    The funny thing is that the longer you run from challenges to avoid facing your fears, the more ingrained your lack of confidence will be.

  • Imposter syndrome. When you feel like you’ve snuck into your job and are just waiting for everyone to discover that you’re a fraud, that’s imposter syndrome.

    Over 70% of people will experience this at some point in their career, so you certainly shouldn’t feel alone if you’re experiencing this.

  • Perfectionism. Sometimes, it’s the best and the brightest who lack confidence the most. As Charles Bukowski put it, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

    Perfectionists are never satisfied with the work they turn in and gain workplace confidence at a slower pace.

  • Bad relationship with the boss. The most common culprit is the micromanaging boss or supervisor who won’t trust you to do anything independently. It could also be that you feel like your boss doesn’t like you, so you’re more timid around her.

  • Bad relationships with coworkers. If you have a condescending coworker or work with people who are otherwise unpleasant, that negativity will filter into your day-to-day life in no time.

    Try not to take these things personally and rise above your toxic workplace culture.

  • Job doesn’t align with your skills. You’re not going to feel very engaged at work if you don’t feel like you’re leveraging your strengths as an employee. This is tough to tackle on your own and may require a change in position, department, or even company to remedy.

Final Thoughts

One of the keys to tackling low confidence is to stop taking yourself so seriously. Learn to take things in stride and incorporate constructive criticism without letting self-doubt creep in. When you can start enjoying your time at work, confidence will come naturally.

Be patient with yourself because confidence doesn’t happen overnight. Be persistent, keep working on your confident mindset, and learn to appreciate little wins.

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Matthew Zane

Matthew Zane is the lead editor of Zippia's How To Get A Job Guides. He is a teacher, writer, and world-traveler that wants to help people at every stage of the career life cycle. He completed his masters in American Literature from Trinity College Dublin and BA in English from the University of Connecticut.

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