Don’t let low self-confidence hinder your career

2018-10-05 12:30

While not everyone is innately confident in the workplace, recent research shows a strong correlation between confidence and occupational success.

Considering the competitive nature of the job market, working on improving your confidence levels can go a long way towards boosting your career prospects and helping you stand out from the crowd.

Kay Vittee, chief executive of Quest Staffing Solutions, says exuding confidence in a job interview often seals the deal when comparing a group of candidates with similar levels of skill and experience.

“The reality is that many employers regard self-confidence as a strength. This is especially the case when the prospective role is a client-facing one. Candidates who come across as unsure of themselves or who are extremely shy are often at a disadvantage.”

Research conducted by 3GEM Research and Insights, on behalf of Feel Good Contact Lenses, indicates that one in five employees consider themselves as “a push-over” and a further 20% have missed out on a promotion because of their lack of self-belief.

“This emphasises that confident employees are ultimately more likely to be recognised and remembered, increasing their chances of securing a job, nabbing a promotion and increasing their earning potential,” Vittee says.

When it comes to confidence levels, Vittee says in many instances stress can undermine an employee’s ability to perform their duties with assurance.

“There are a number of situations in the workplace that can impact on one’s self-confidence. New and unfamiliar tasks are often met with a certain amount of anxiety, which may translate into uncertainty and lack of confidence when attempting to complete them.”

“Critical comments and negative feedback from colleagues or managers can play a role in making or breaking confidence levels, along with the way in which an employee processes such criticism.”

Vittee highlights that employees may struggle with tackling tasks they may have previously attempted and failed at.

“We all have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to performing our roles in the workplace and being tasked with something we may deem a weakness is bound to have an impact on our confidence levels. The truth is that these are often our own perceptions and may not be accurate,” she adds.

Unexpected disruptions are another factor that Vittee says employees respond adversely to.

“While some people can quickly change focus and direction when something unexpected crops up, it may completely derail other employees, leaving them unsettled and unproductive.

“With these scenarios in mind, it is important for job seekers and employees who battle with self-confidence to look for productive ways to deal with stressful situations that can impact on their confidence and perceptions of self-worth, and could ultimately determine their long-term career success,” she adds.

When feeling insecure or unsure in the work environment, do the following:

Ask for help

If you feel like you are not in control, don’t be shy or embarrassed to ask a manager or co-worker for help.

Don’t overthink things

Although it can be challenging, try to think and react to workplace situations rationally and not emotionally.

Practice confidence

Try and avoid feeling negative or incompetent when completing a task you have previously struggled with. Make it a priority to overcome any fear or mental block that could be holding you back in this regard.


Always stay mindful of the five Ps – prior preparation prevents poor performance. Knowing that you are always ready and prepared can be a massive confidence booster.

“The good news is that confidence can be created and nurtured.

“The key is to identify ways to tackle your workplace confidence pitfalls and promote long-term career advancement and overall job satisfaction,” she concludes.

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September 22 2019