Whether you’re just starting in the workforce, transitioning to a new job, or are feeling uneasy about your confidence levels in the office, this guide on how to be confident at work is going to help you learn both how to appear confident at work, as well as how to stay confident at work once you’ve followed these tips and feel more comfortable putting yourself out there.
The workplace can be a confusing one, with office politics, strange hierarchies and coworkers you may or may not even like.
Your boss may be a dream to work with, but they also could be super intimidating and make you feel inferior in all of the worst ways.
The great part about confidence is that it’s something that can be projected.
Sure, you should take the steps you can take to learn actual confidence, but sometimes the illusion of confidence will make people treat you differently, which will in turn make you more confident.
It’s one of the many secrets to building self-esteem and making other people take you seriously!
So here we go, how to feel confident at work so you can do your job awesomely, make people respect you, and not be afraid of speaking up or speaking out.
Must-Read Book for Finding Your Confidence
After scouring the world of self-help books, I’ve found the best one for embracing who you are, not apologizing for what you do or what you believe, and achieving more.
It’s called “You Are a Bada**: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.”
This is seriously going to change your life, and you can find it here.
1. Dress to Impress
Even if you don’t feel confident, you have to dress the part.
Feeling uncomfortable about your personal appearance at work can be a huge problem when it comes to feeling ready to interact with clients, present in board meetings, or feel like you know what you’re doing.
Always dress one step above what is “required” for the office, unless the requirement is as dressy as you can get.
If you can wear jeans and a T-shirt, dress it up with some khakis and a button down.
This is part of “faking it until you make it.”
People will automatically think you know what you’re talking about more when you look put together.
2. Find At Least One “Safe” Person in the Office
Learn how to be self confident at work by finding at least one “safe” person you can connect with and confide in.
It might be a colleague on your level, or your direct line manager, or someone else in an entirely different department that you trust.
In toxic work environments, this won’t always be possible, and you should be very careful who you trust and make sure to NEVER bad mouth other people or engage in office gossip with them – people can turn on you and ruin your career even if you don’t expect it.
However, it’s nice to have someone that you can trust to tell when you’re not feeling your best or who can give you a bit of encouragement.
Preparation is one of the keys to being confident in everyday life, but when it comes to learning how to beome more confident at work, you need to go even further.
Whether it’s a presentation you need to give, a project you need to present to your boss, or an event you’re planning that you need contingencies for, you should make sure that you overprepare.
You need to know the information in such a close and practiced way so that you don’t lose your nerve when you get questioned about a specific part of your presentation.
It’s this overpreparation that leads to the confidence.
You don’t flinch when something goes wrong because you’ve thought through what to do next.
You don’t hesitate to volunteer to fill in for a colleague because you’ve learned their part too.
You’ve got to put in the time in advance in order to thrive at work.
4. Keep a Record of What You’ve Done
When it comes to either being able to account for your time at work when it comes to a yearly review or just general good practice on being able to update your resume, keep a record of what you’ve accomplished at work!
This is insanely helpful to boost your confidence because you can see, written down on paper, what you’ve done and how far you’ve come in your worklife.
Again, this can be really useful if you also need confidence when negotiating a raise or talking to your boss about a potential promotion.
No one is going to keep as good of a record of your achievements at work than you, so run with it.
5. Observe Your Well Respected (not Feared) Colleagues
Sometimes, the key to feeling more confident at work is to watch what other well-respected people in the office do.
Now, you don’t want to emulate your boss that scares everyone, but there will be definitely be people who project confidence, speak up, and are generally well-liked in the office.
You don’t need to try and be them, but see what characteristics they bring to the table that help them with their own confidence.
Do they dress a certain way?
Do they treat people in a certain way?
Do they contribute in certain ways that you could try?
Watch how they hold themselves and carry themselves in the office and take inspiration from that.
6. Remember – They’re Just People
If your problem with not feeling confident at work is because you’re intimidated by either the intellect or the personalities of others, try and remember that they’re just people.
The CEO goes home to a normal wife and kids every night.
They sleep, eat, make mistakes, and do all of the other normal human things because that’s what they are – human.
Feeling inferior to people in your office as a person is never what you want.
Sure, you can appreciate that you have a certain position in the office when it comes to the workplace roles, but it doesn’t mean that that person is worth more as a human than you or in fact is any less of a human than you are.
Treat people as people and remind yourself that when you get in your head and nervous about speaking to, speaking up to, or interacting with people in your office.
7. Own Your Weaknesses and Ask Questions
It seems counterintuitive, but I think one of the best ways to gain confidence in the office is to actually own up to what you do wrong and where you could improve.
Think about it – the person who doesn’t ask questions and just goes ahead doing the wrong things, making mistakes the whole way, isn’t more well-regarded than the person who paused to ask someone more knowledgable than them on a certain subject.
It’s much less terrifying to be somebody who admits what they don’t know than to be absolutely freaked out that people are going to “uncover” the truth about your weaknesses.
As long as you didn’t lie about your skills in your job interview, then you have nothing to worry about.
Nobody knows everything, and taking the time to learn something or ask questions is the right thing to do.