7 Tips to Feel More Confident at Work

4 minute read

Would you like to feel more confident at work? Sadly, for many women feeling inadequate in the workplace is the norm. In fact, a 2019 survey showed that a whopping 79% of women lacked confidence at work.

Everyone has a knock to their confidence occasionally and this is a normal part of growing in your career. But if it develops into imposter syndrome and worry and fear hold you back from reaching your full potential, then it’s time to take action. In honour of International Women’s Day we’ve compiled our top seven tips on how to feel more confident at work.

1. Identify your strengths and weaknesses

Knowledge is power, so being aware of your strengths and weaknesses will help to build your confidence. You can then look for opportunities to use your skills and build on your strengths.

You can also try setting yourself goals around your weaknesses—for example to learn more about something. If you feel there’s a particular area you need to improve on then ask about training at your organisation. Browse our courses section or search for useful online resources such as NCVO or Charity Excellence Framework. Don’t forget to check any goals you set are realistic and achievable; this will keep you focused and give you a sense of control.

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2. Ask questions

Ever wanted to ask a question at work but were too afraid of being judged for not already knowing the answer? Not knowing everything can make you feel insecure. But no-one can ever know everything and chances are that some of your colleagues are also in the dark!  So be the brave one and ask the question. It shows you’re eager to learn, and the more you understand, the more confident you’ll feel.

It’s important to take risks and voice your opinions, otherwise you’ll hold yourself back. So let go of the need to be perfect and don’t let fear stop you from growing.

A woman's face, wearing glasses with a post-it note on her head with a question mark on it

3. Ask for feedback

Don’t stay quiet and assume you’re doing a mediocre job. Ask for feedback and you’ll most likely find you’re doing much better than you think. This tip works particularly well if you have a manager or colleague who is unknowingly denting your confidence in some way. Asking them directly for feedback will force them to acknowledge what you do well. It will also help give you a better idea of your strengths and weaknesses from a different perspective.

4. Find a mentor

If there’s a particular gap in your knowledge or skillset that’s making you feel insecure, then find someone else who does it well and see if you can learn from them. There are many sector-wide schemes you can use to find a mentor, such as CharityComms, or you could even ask someone in your organisation that you admire if they would mentor you. Or why not find someone through CharityConnect?

Also, don’t underestimate the value of allies at work. Find supportive colleagues who will be your cheerleaders when you need a boost, and you can do the same for them in return.

One woman sits down reading a piece of paper, another stands behind her and read it over her shoulder

5. Don’t think negative thoughts

Try not to dwell on things that don’t go well, instead plan how to improve them next time. And remember that failing is how we learn. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about not being good enough or not knowing what you’re doing then tell yourself what you’d tell your best friend . Be kind to yourself and celebrate how far you’ve come. Don’t succumb to that imposter syndrome!

6. Fake it ‘til you make it

It’s an oldie but a goodie. Ask yourself what a confident person would do and act like that until you feel it inside too. Dress in a way that makes you feel more confident—this might mean choosing smarter clothes than usual. Be positive and resilient. Focus on how you can provide solutions rather than dwell on the problem. Smile and be friendly to everyone. Go the extra mile and overachieve on a project you’re working on. This will all make you feel and seem comfortable, competent and in control.

It can help to get outside your comfort zone outside of work too. Taking up a new hobby, learning something new and meeting new people can all boost your confidence.

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7. Celebrate your achievements

Don’t forget to believe in yourself. You were given this job over the other candidates—and that wasn’t by accident! It sounds cheesy but repeating positive affirmations to yourself every day really can help to change your mindset.

And a great way to remind yourself of all your achievements is to document then. Every time you get any positive feedback internally or externally, have completed a piece of work you’re proud of or had something go much better than expected, keep a note of it. Screenshot things, save emails or make a list. Then save it all in one place so you can go back and read over it whenever you need a boost.

Hopefully you work in a supportive team who will champion your skills and nurture your growth, but if the culture of your workplace is making the problem worse, then it may be time to move on. Don’t stay in an organisation that consistently undermines your confidence, you’re worth more than that. And there are plenty of amazing opportunities out there that will allow you to thrive and brim with confidence.

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