You are a superstar, you just need to be more confident at work
7 top tips to be more confident in the workplace
Maybe women need a new approach to appear more confident in the workplace, and with these tips it is possible.
'Be more confident' is not as easy as it sounds. It doesn't work like that. But there are little tips that you can use to help you on your path to confidence.
Everyone feels under-confident about something. So take a look a look at these seven common concerns, and check out our tips to help you. It might be that you just need to approach the situation in a new way. Before you know it you'll be shining in the workplace like the superstar you are.
1. Imposter syndrome- They want you
You did not walk into your job by accident one day and creep around until they got used to you there. You were hired. They looked at multiple applicants and decided that you were the best option. You are not expected to know everything immediately, and asking questions is a good way of learning. It is also a drag to hire new people. Most employers would rather keep the person they have hired who has been learning, rather than begin the search again.
So be more confident in your position. You were picked for a reason. They want you to work there, in that role.
2. Be clear if it was your idea, or your fault. Take responsibility for yourself
There is nothing more annoying than someone stealing your idea and passing it off as their own. Stand up for yourself, and stand up for other people, particularly women who get talked over. We need to support each other's ideas and both give and take credit where it is due.
However, this also works in terms of owning up to your errors. Don't make excuses. You can apologise (once), explain what happened, and find a solution. But don't try to pass it off as not being your fault if you should really have been the one to do something. Own up, fix it, and move on. Everyone makes mistakes, and you can always learn something new from where you went wrong.
3. Don't let the work become too much. Manage your work load
You are allowed to say if you think that the work load is too much. Nobody wants you to burn out. If your workload feels unmanageable, look at how long different tasks take and compile the information. It might be that you are not working efficiently. You might see that some jobs are taking far longer they should, which you might be able to improve.
Or, it might be that you are being asked to take on too much. If you have the data to show that then ask your boss for a formal chat to discuss your workload. Show them how much you have on and how long it takes you. They might be able to find you a way to structure the work differently so that you can get it done. Or they might not have quite realised how much they were giving you. If you talk it through with them then you will both be on the same page.
Be aware of your company’s atmosphere though. It may be that everyone is over-working. If you don't like it then it might not be the right place for you. It could also be that your boss is trying to stretch you with an eye to promoting you.
If you need a little boost, try our Returner Roll-Up Session on Building Your Confidence HERE.
4. Switching off. Set yourself clear working times
Sometimes it can feel like it's impossible to switch off from work. With our phones carrying our lives, we can see our inboxes and be contacted at any moment. Some jobs may require that you are accessible at any moment, but most won't.
Set clear working hours for yourselves, and clear hours when you aren't working. Never check your emails if you don't want to act on anything immediately. There is no point in checking just before dinner, while you are at the bar waiting for someone, or as you enter the cinema. And you should certainly not check your phone just before bed.
Yes it is good to be reliable and responsive, but you also need to make sure that you get a break. You will be a happier worker and far more efficient if you have clear working hours and clear time when you get a break. You don't have to say yes to everything, especially when it is out of hours. Be more confident in valuing your time off and make sure that you make the most of it.
5. Don't apologise. Be more confident in your abilities
How many times do you find yourself apologising at work? Do you apologise for contacting someone? For asking a question? For asking for work that should have been passed to you long ago? Stop.
As said above, if you have done something wrong then you can apologise, once. But you don't need to apologise for being there, or for speaking. You certainly don't need to apologise for making a suggestion. Own your recommendations and requests. You are good at what you do and you have good ideas.
If you are really guilty of over-apologising then try this trick: Write out your email, but before sending it, re-read it. Have you apologised? Have you undermined yourself? Channel your inner Samantha Jones, Elizabeth Bennet, Serena Williams, Beyonce, Michelle Obama, or whoever else you find inspiring, unapologetic and confident. Can you imagine them talking so apologetically? If they don’t then why should you?
6. You don't have to organise everything because you are the woman. Just do your job
Many women get tempted to take on extra, organisational jobs (the invisible work) in the workplace. Whether it is organising the work Christmas party, the leaving present for so-and-so, or the campaign for casual Fridays, this is not your job.
It is fine to help organise something, once. But don't become the go-to person for all the organising and planning. Make sure that the men get involved too. Even if they say that they are not very good at it, or if they flatter you saying that you are good at it, it's not your job. It's not going to help with your career progression, and it's very likely taking up extra time that you would rather spend otherwise. It could even be taking up time that you should be spending concentrating on work.
So take a step back. You don't need to do it.
7. Stop feeling so lost. Set out a clear career plan
Most men have a clear career plan and a clear idea of the direction they want to go in. Most women don't. Without a career plan it can be difficult to know what to focus on. It can also make work feel pointless. What's the point in putting effort into something if it's not heading somewhere?
Take the time to work out what you want. We spend the majority of our waking hours at work, so it is worth trying to find something that would actually bring you joy. Ask yourself: where do you want to be in five years' time? How do you get there? What do you need to be doing in the next year to set yourself on the right path?
All of these answers can help you to make sure that you are on the path that you want to be on. Once you know what you want, it is much easier to be driven. And when you feel driven, you are less likely to let people push you off your path. You will find yourself wanting to excel, and you will inevitably start to grow. This visible progress will bring you much more confidence than plodding along doing something that you don't care about.
So give it a try; be more confident. Think about what you want, and don’t apologise for it. Know your worth. You are a superstar and they want you to work for them. You just need to believe in yourself too.
Confidence is as important as competence for career progression. If you need further help, try our Self-Confidence Coaching Programme.
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