Speak Up, Battle Imposter Syndrome, and Build Career Confidence
Workplace Expectations are High
In today’s workplace, newly hired workers are expected to adjust quickly to their new workplace. It can take time to get used to company culture, policies, and procedures while additionally learning to perform a new job. There is additional pressure to perform that new job well, to prove yourself, and to demonstrate value to the team and organization. There are also expectations to build fruitful, new relationships with co-workers and managers, and to learn to be part of a successful team.
A confident employee gives co-workers the perception of credibility and influence. They can communicate effectively, make decisions and take on new challenges. Setbacks and problems in the workplace are handled with resilience. A confident employee inspires faith in their abilities, which leads to trust and respect from co-workers, management, and clients.
Self-Confidence Helps with Relationship Building
Individuals with self-confidence issues may have difficulty building the professional relationships they need to function as part of a team. They may be less likely to contribute to discussions, share ideas and thoughts and become more sensitive to criticism or rejection. Over time, group communications and dynamics could become imbalanced and dominated by fewer individuals, making collaboration difficult. The employee lacking in self-confidence could slowly begin to professionally stagnate, experiencing less professional growth and/or advancement opportunities as a result.
Tips to Improve Your Self-Confidence
Clearly communicating thoughts and ideas in the workplace is a vital skill for a newly hired young professional. HR professional Sajni Patel noted, “I struggled with nerves and self-doubt at my first job. Confidence seemed to be a mysterious quality that people either had or didn’t. Thankfully, I was very wrong”. Workers who struggle with confidence should proactively seek feedback so as to limit potential performance issues. A good start is learning how to speak up in the workplace:
Upskill with additional education for effective communication, group dynamics, public speaking, and workplace confidence.
Research, gather, and practice describing discussion points in advance of meetings.
Talking over others can cause confusion in meetings. Consider silently counting to three before speaking up.
Practice speaking up in small meetings with 3 or 4 well-known people.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes! It can be healthy to laugh at yourself and others if you misspeak or stumble over your words. Failure is just essential practice for growth.
Start with Small Steps
Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar has said, "You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." The key to building self-esteem is taking that first step. Start with small achievable goals and formulate a plan for how they will be met. Each small goal reached is a small step towards greater self-confidence. Here are a few ideas for that initial step:
Seek learning opportunities through projects, additional work, or stretch assignments. They can be found by working with management, networking, or applying for temporary work assignments. Each new engagement is an opportunity to gain knowledge, meet new people, and grow in confidence.
Build a support network of work relationships that are helpful and encouraging. Reach out to experienced employees and build out a personal network of helpfulness. As you learn and grow, freely share your knowledge with others. Over time, you will have co-workers that can be relied upon for assistance.
Actively ask and seek feedback from your manager and colleagues. Employees should not hesitate to contact their manager for advice. Co-workers are often willing to give honest, constructive criticism. When possible, take the opportunity to learn valuable, information and build your personal network!
Give yourself a pass. It’s normal to feel a lack of confidence if you lack experience. Give yourself grace because you’re new to this! Being confident in anything improves with experience. Accept and meet yourself where you are, so you can be realistic about what you need to feel confident in your abilities.
Look for a formal mentor. They will be helpful with non-biased guidance, encouragement, and insights. Mentors can assist with goal setting and boost your confidence.
Practice good self-care. This includes taking on a positive attitude and walking confidently. Wear work clothes slightly more formal than the standard dress code. Having a positive mental attitude and feeling good about oneself can do wonders for self-esteem.
If you are struggling mentally, don't hesitate to seek the support of a professional.
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