When you think of a leader who exudes confidence, who do you think of? Leaders like Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook come to mind – she had a fearlessness that led her to become Facebook’s COO and the author of “Lean In” with a message of empowerment with a focus on confidence for women in the workplace. In terms of politics, you have leaders like Barack Obama who exudes an amount of confidence, so much so, that it’s inspirational.
When you walk into a management team meeting – have you felt the same way as those leaders? Or do you ever experience those moments of self-doubt even when you had a pertinent question or key insight you wanted to share? I know I’ve been in these situations before and chances are, you have too.
Having worked with Clients on their self-confidence, one thing I’ve noticed is that most know they are perfectly competent and capable in their role, but that their confidence was affecting their personal career trajectory – opportunities lost for growth, mentorship, promotions and raises.
Here are three ways for you to focus on when improving self-confidence in the workplace:
Get out of your comfort zone: I didn’t say this would be easy. Tackle your fears head-on, try not to avoid opportunities when presented itself to you – maybe it’s volunteering to take on new projects if you know you’re a regimented individual. Or finding opportunities to present in front of others if you’re a nervous public speaker. Acknowledge each time you step out of your comfort and give yourself praise, even if it is just a minor achievement. Little steps can help build confidence and the habit of taking bigger steps.
Fake it till you make it: Exuding confidence is half the battle. Be aware of your body language, your posture and any other physical signals you are sending out. Make eye contact with individuals in the room when you speak. Have a firm handshake. Project confidence can help you look confident.
Realize your own strengths: Recognize you are unique, you have your own set of strengths and weaknesses you bring to any situation. Focus on your strengths. Identify your top 3-5 strengths and then remind yourself of them and leverage them when you are lacking confidence. Next time you feel self-doubt, ask yourself, how can I use one of my strengths in this situation?
What I have noticed with clients as they start to work on their self-confidence in the workplace, it can result in:
- Communicating more regularly and effectively
- Assertiveness when taking on initiatives
- Better able to manage pressure-loaded situations
- Thinking more positively about their career direction and future
- Willingness to take some risks necessary to achieve their goals
Improving your self-confidence is not quick fix. The good news is you can improve and build self-confidence – it just takes conscious effort and time.
Going through these types of exercises will help you own any room, any interaction and any situation in a manner in which others think: “Wow, they’ve got this.”
Curious about how listening can improve your leadership skills? I’m always happy to connect and have more conversations about any comments or questions you might have on my thought pieces. Click here to send me a note!