Building Confidence at Work: 14 Tips

Remaining confident at work can be a challenge. Whether you’re battling imposter syndrome or dealing with perfectionism, it’s easy to be your own worst critic. 

The good news is that confidence can be learned, just like any other skill. Read on to find out why it is an important part of your professional development, and get a few tips on building confidence.  

Why does confidence matter?  

Here are two key ways that building confidence can benefit you: 

Health and Wellbeing 

Confidence and a positive inner dialogue can have a domino effect in your life—especially your mental health. Employing each of these things can prevent negative thoughts and self-doubt from taking over, which often influences your wellbeing.  

Confident people are more likely to participate in activities that boost mental health, seek out and maintain relationships, and generally take better care of themselves physically and emotionally.  

Career Success 

At work, confidence can be monumental in your professional development and general success. This is largely because those who are confident have significantly better communication skills, as they feel comfortable or empowered to do so. Rather than being doubtful, with confidence you’re more likely speak up in meetings and collaborate more effectively with coworkers.  

Each of those side effects from confidence contribute to increased career advancement. Confident individuals are more likely to take initiative or step into leadership positions. These individuals are often better equipped to cope with career stress or pressure, and more inclined to seek out learning or growth opportunities.  

Tips for building your confidence at work

Here are 14 ways you can work to build your confidence at work. 

Set realistic goals

Accomplishments build confidence. Even if it’s as simple as making your bed in the morning or clearing out your email inbox, setting goals and achieving them can help you feel more confident. It’s okay to start small and work your way up—being realistic is key! 

Track your progress

This is useful when it comes to your bigger goals. While simple, quick tasks can boost confidence fast, long-term or more challenging goals may provide a deeper sense of accomplishment. However, with long-term goals it’s possible to lose sight of the progress you’re making.  

Try breaking your big goals into steps or sub-tasks that will ultimately lead to your desired end result. Accomplishing these steps or sub-tasks can give you a confidence boost as you see yourself moving toward your goal. 

Write out your strengths

Rather than focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do. And we’re betting you can do a lot.  

When you want to build confidence it’s important to reflect on the positive and remember your strengths. Dwelling on short-comings or faults can bring a negative tone to your inner-dialogue and hinder confidence. Actively acknowledging your talents, strengths, and accomplishments by writing them out can shift that tone toward positivity and self-acceptance. It’s okay to brag on yourself! 

This act of mindfulness can also help you maintain confidence in the long-run. Writing out lists is linked to memory, plus it’ll give you something to return to when you need a little pick-me-up.  

Practice positivity and use affirmations

Positive thinking goes a long way. You can’t control everything, but you can control your outlook to a degree. Just like confidence, positivity is a habit. Actively focusing on the positive will reinforce other confidence-boosting habits.  

Affirmations are a way to bring positivity to the forefront of your mindset. You can use them to begin your day, close it out, or throughout the day to keep yourself feeling confident. 

Connect with coworkers

Having a good relationship with your coworkers can do wonders for your confidence. When you feel like you have a support system at work, it makes the whole experience much more enjoyable. 

One woman is talking while another is laughing in what seems like a happy workplace

Eliminate negative language

When your inner critic is in control, it’s hard for confidence to thrive. 

Avoid thinking about failure or faults, and replace that with the positive thinking or affirmations mentioned above. Whenever negative thoughts begin to creep up, take a moment to acknowledge them, and then challenge yourself to push back on your self-doubt. Try these four steps: 

  1. Notice when you have started the pattern,
  2. Acknowledge that it’s a pattern you want to change,
  3. Articulate what you want to be different,
  4. Choose a different behavior—one that serves your goals.  

Dress for success

It’s not about the price tag or aesthetic, as much as it is about wearing clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable. Do you feel more confident in dark colors or neutrals? Or maybe you’d rather stand out with a colorful ensemble? The most important part is feeling good about your presentation.  

Seek out resources

As we’ve mentioned, confidence is a skill you can learn. How would you pick up any other skill or habit? You probably wouldn’t expect yourself to just find the answers within. You’d probably read a book, listen to a podcast, or find an article, taking that knowledge and converting it into actionable steps for yourself.  

Challenge yourself

One way to boost confidence is to take on new challenges. This could be anything from attending a meeting by yourself, giving a presentation, or picking up a new skill. By doing something that scares you, you prove that you can handle whatever comes your way—making you more confident that you can overcome challenges or obstacles later on. 

Taking on new tasks, learning new skills, or trying new things can be empowering.  

Tackle problems head-on

Staying on top of your work is an easy way to proactively combat self-doubt and other obstacles to building confidence. Allowing tasks to pile up can cause you to feel behind, and potentially that you’re not performing well.  

Following this tip of continually tackling projects or assignments at work can also give you the confidence-boosting feeling of achievement.  

Be persistent

Confidence isn’t learned overnight—it takes practice. Moreover, persisting through challenging times will likely contribute to your confidence in the long run.  

Persevering now can also help you persevere later. It will give you the confidence and knowledge that you’ve overcome obstacles in the past, so you can do it again. 

Practice self-compassion

When building confidence, it’s important to encourage yourself and try to curb negative thoughts. But it’s also valuable to give yourself space to feel and process feelings. This can also help you acknowledge and determine where those self-doubting thoughts originate from—which can help you combat them in the future.  

Step back

A quick break can do wonders for your mood. It’s far too easy to get caught up in what’s going on around you and making comparisons that fuel self-doubt. When you begin to feel behind, take a minute to pause, reflect, and regroup. This is a great time to employ those positive affirmations! 

Make time for things that bring joy

Doing activities you excel at or enjoy can boost your confidence. While it’s important to push the boundaries of your comfort zone, it’s a space where you’re most likely to feel confident.  

Identify areas where you derive confidence, and create a space for you to maintain them. Whether it’s writing in a journal, going for a run, or even knitting, prioritizing what you’re good at will build confidence for you to apply at work.  

Building Confidence Takes Time

Change takes time. You may not see or feel improvement right away, but don’t give up! Keep using these tips and commit yourself to building confidence.