Turn Yourself Into a Star Performer:
Tips on Cultivating Confidence
By Dr. Christopher Knippers
Confidence is a rare quality, even among those who have learned to
‘appear’ confident. Confidence is characterized by a basic belief
in one’s own value as a person and competence at certain skills,
whether it is professional, technical or interpersonal skills. They
are not arrogant – they don’t have to be. Being self-assured means
you are secure in your own specific abilities and are happy to let
others shine in their own ways. Confident people are not overly
sensitive and don’t have big egos. Those who are truly self-assured
are the ones you feel good being around.
you may not have been born with this kind of poise or
self-assurance, it is easy enough to hone and develop your own
confidence. These kinds of skills can not only help you in the
workplace, but can also help improve your social skills and
are a few tips on developing confidence:
Become aware of your own strengths. Keep developing
those strengths and focus your thoughts on what you do well. Make a
list of your strengths and contributions to your job. Maybe you are
good at staying focused, or are good at listening, or are creative,
etc. The confidence that develops from these thoughts will be
self-perpetuating and will make you actually perform better.
Accept your weaknesses while trying to improve,
knowing that you don’t have to develop perfection in every aspect of
life. When you catch yourself making a mistake or being frustrated
by a task, pause to acknowledge that while you are not the best in
that particular area, you can work on it. If it is some area that
you need to be better in for your job, seek the help you need to
develop that skill.
Develop and focus on thoughts about yourself that
reflect respect for yourself and others. Literally have phrases in
mind that describe personal qualities that are positive in the
workplace, such as, “I am friendly,” or, “I am conscientious.”
Visualize yourself in positive ways. What you imagine
has a significant chance of becoming reality. Picture yourself
speaking up or being creative in a meeting. Picture yourself
succeeding in the specific functions of your day-to-day routine.
Practice relaxing and fun activities on a regular
basis. “Play” helps people of all ages and stages of life to develop
confidence. You can do things like take breaks at work for a quick
game of trashcan basketball, develop your sense of humor (keep it
“appropriate” for the workplace), go outside and breath the fresh
air for a few minutes, or simply sit at your desk and close your
eyes while practicing deep breathing for 10 minutes. Certainly, take
time for recreation outside of work.
Learn assertiveness skills. We are seldom taught
these. Instead, we learn “aggressiveness” and “passiveness” to cope
with conflict. Assertiveness is simply, rationally standing up for
what you believe is best for you and the organization, voicing your
opinion calmly, and respecting the rights of others. A few ways that
assertiveness appears in the workplace is speaking up in meetings to
voice an opinion, standing up for your rights, respectfully letting
a colleague know when they have been unprofessional in their
treatment of you, and saying “no” to additional workload when you
are already overloaded. There are numerous books and one-day
workshops on assertiveness.
Always do your best. Don’t allow yourself to get lazy
during work hours. Be able to look back on your 40-hour week and say
that you were productive. Too much overtime and high-stress work
environments are not efficient systems; but neither is an
environment that is too laid-back, where people are looking for ways
to get out of actually working, rather than looking for ways to get
more done in a reasonable amount of time. To be confident you need
to be able to point to accomplishments on the job.
Be aware of your “image.” Like it or not, we
judged for our appearance. People do notice when you are
well-groomed, dress appropriately, carry yourself (your posture)
with confidence, and speak clearly and audibly.
Be friendly. A smile goes a long way toward helping
you feel confident. Show interest in your co-workers and you will
experience the confidence that comes from being well-liked. Even the
crabbiest people usually respond positively to a consistently
are some things to avoid, because they undermine confidence:
Avoid taking things personally that others do or say.
The workplace usually has people who are insecure and try to feel
better about themselves by putting others down. Don’t participate at
any level of that game. Also, allow others to do their job, even if
that involves disagreeing with your opinion. Remember others have
the right to express what they think, even if it is different that
what you believe.
Avoid workplace dramas (e.g. gossip, grudges,
negativity, etc.). Just stick to your duties. You will feel better
about yourself if you stay emotionally balanced, and stay with the
tasks that are relevant to your work.
Avoid comparing yourself to someone who is stronger in
another area than you are. Comparisons are often irrelevant because
they don’t take all factors into consideration. And, comparisons can
drain your confidence. Someone might be better at sales, creativity,
or coordination; but look at your strengths, emphasize them, and if
you want help from the expert in some other area, ask for it.
Avoid resentments. You will definitely have conflicts
in the course of working with a staff for any significant length of
time. While it might be a good idea to confront the situation/person
at the time of the betrayal, after the confrontation drop the
resentment, no matter what response you receive. Harboring
resentment only undermines your own positive feelings about
persistent in your efforts to build confidence. Continually gather
evidence of reasons to believe in yourself. You may have had many
years to gather evidence for less-than-confident thoughts about
yourself; so be persistent and patient in the process of building up
help others in the workplace build their confidence. Give
compliments freely and sincerely. Do practical things to help
someone else with a project. In the long run, confident employees
are much more efficient, passionate, have lower absenteeism, and
will make the workplace a much more pleasant place.
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