Article Confidence in the Workplace

Confidence in the Workplace

In the workplace we now have to change and adapt according to demand. Being open-minded and positive will enhance your chances of coping with increasing pressures and will boost your confidence.

If you feel you lack confidence and that it is something which is affecting your well being you may want to contact an ICAS counsellor or read on for some self-help suggestions.

Confidence building

  • Counteract your fear of failure - if you have ever failed or have been rejected you are not alone. Everyone has setbacks. However, confident and successful people tend to draw a line under the past and look at new challenges in the “here and now”.
  • Recognise when you are predicting an outcome - a self-fulfilling prophecy blocks success.
  • Recognise if you tend towards perfectionism. If you have unrealistic expectations of yourself, you will set yourself up to fail. Strive to be the best you can be - not perfect.
  • Check your level of self esteem via the link below. If you are over critical and you may need to work on your self image and why you are so hard on yourself.
  • Be well prepared for meetings - research and rehearse if necessary. Knowledge is a powerful weapon.
  • Check out your assertiveness skills via the Assertiveness Assessment. Presenting yourself as competent and strong but not aggressive exudes confidence straightaway.


  • Learn or re-visit your communication and presentation skills.
  • Clear and positive communication skills can be learned - you can use self help techniques, courses or simply follow the basic guidelines below.
  • Your voice needs to be clear and strong.
  • Your posture must be relaxed and upright - do not fidget or gesticulate - it conveys insecurity and distraction.
  • Eye contact must be made and your face needs to exude a pleasant friendly and interested look.
  • When you need to put your point of view across express yourself assertively—focus on the points you wish to make and do not waffle or use too many “ers” or “ums”! Respect the comments of others even if you do not agree.
  • Use humour! A friendly smile or pleasantries go a long way to make contact with others and shows a human side that we can all relate to.
  • Think about the nature of your audience and exactly what you are trying to achieve whether you are speaking to one colleague or a whole room. You may want to rehearse in front of a mirror or if it is a particularly difficult subject area you could record yourself and practice as many times as you wish.
  • In a recent survey, a lack of pretention, an ability not to patronise and a sense of humour were the 3 main skills people appreciated the most in colleagues on a one to one basis or in meetings and presentations.

Winning ways at work

If we work on a full-time basis we spend a lot of hours at our workplace and with our colleagues. It makes good sense, then, to build healthy relationships and use our skills to make our working life as pleasant as possible.

By being confident and creating a positive atmosphere ourselves we will usually see this returned. Here are some basic suggestions:

  • Listen to others respectfully - don't interrupt or finish their sentences.
  • Remember colleagues' names and an interest of theirs such as the football team they support.
  • Use “open” body language - arms relaxed not crossed, head up with eye contact, mirror or match the person's gestures if appropriate.
  • Give your opinion if asked. Keep focused and don't waffle!
  • Don't disrespect the opinions, beliefs or cultures of others - tolerance and a non-judgemental approach create a positive atmosphere and allow colleagues to maintain their dignity.
  • Don't judge people on appearances - get to know them and find some common ground.
  • Develop ways to include colleagues in discussions - ask for their views - most people respond well when they feel others are interested in their opinions.
  • Remember a laugh and a smile usually works when all else fails!

Maintaining confidence and success at work

  • We all need feedback from others to improve ourselves. Rather than becoming defensive or resentful, approach feedback as a learning point and see if you can make use of any justified criticism offered.
  • If you are a manager or supervisor and need to give feedback that could be perceived as negative make sure you do this in private and offer some positive points too.
  • Learn from past mistakes - don't prolong self criticism, let go of your negative inner critic, draw a line and move onto the next thing.
  • Find time to look at all your successes. Life can be tough! - remind yourself how far you have come.
  • Have you found any blocks to success? If so, work towards eliminating anything that is not working in your favour. This could be improving your skills, developing your self awareness, becoming more assertive or working on how you interact with others.