by Melanie Greene

In a nutshell

1. What is confidence?

Confidence in ourselves is feeling happy about who we are, what we do and our capabilities. Some people are confident the whole time, while for others the feeling comes and goes. Most people will have varying levels of self confidence, depending on their current circumstances.

  • People can lack confidence, but still have a sense of self worth and high self esteem.
  • Although some people might start off life appearing or even being more confident than others, that does not mean that the rest of us can’t and won’t become more confident in time.
  • You can act being confident, but it is likely to cause you worry, sleeplessness and feelings of not being in control; true confidence comes from within.
  • It’s not a matter of being an extravert or an introvert.


2. Do I need to be perfect to be confident?

You might be thinking that you can only be truly confident when you are 100 per cent competent, know everything there is to know about your job and are, basically, perfect.

  • Self confidence means that you are able to say ‘I don’t know, but I can find out for you’ or ‘I don’t know, can you tell me more about that?’
  • Find yourself a good coach, mentor or good training to help you to develop your skills to the appropriate standards.


3. What affects your confidence?

What is the difference that makes the difference between times when you feel confident and times when you lack that feeling – is it the situation, the people present or things within you?

  • In what situations do you need to pay more attention to managing and boosting your confidence?
  • Do certain types of people make you feel low in confidence?
  • Does it depend on the task?
  • What makes you feel confident?
  • Do you suffer from a harsh inner critic?


4. Confidence and management/leadership

Your confidence levels can have a dramatic affect on how you work and communicate with others:

  • Defiant leaders are abrasive; they come across as controlling, competitive and resistant to new ideas; underlying this seems to be a fear of failure, of appearing vulnerable and, ultimately, a lack of confidence
  • Compliant leaders suppress their natural style; by either loosing their real sense of self or lacking confidence to be themselves at work, they can find it difficult to connect with, motivate and lead others
  • Authentic leaders have the confidence to try out new ideas, learn from any mistakes that occur and ask for support and ideas from others, as well as supporting and developing other people’s potential


5. What is undermining my confidence?

If you identify the logical level at which you need to make changes and concentrate on that level, you will find that developing your confidence is much easier than you first expected.

  • Can you make changes in your environment that will boost your confidence?
  • Do you need to develop new behaviours?
  • What skills and capabilities do you need to develop?
  • Are you harbouring negative beliefs?
  • Seeing the big picture – understanding what you are trying to achieve with your life and/or the situation you are in – can help to put any challenges you face into perspective.


6. How do I go about becoming more confident?

Once you know which of the following techniques work for you, use them on a regular basis and they will enable you to boost your confidence levels:

  • Visualising success
  • Listening to yourself
  • Appreciating yourself
  • Managing your mood
  • Resourcing yourself
  • Balanced debriefing
  • Asking for constructive and balanced feedback
  • Dealing with criticism from others


7. Managing your mood

If you can learn to manage your mood throughout your working day and week, this will have a positive impact on your levels of confidence.

  • Write down what you routinely do before, during and after work to manage your mood.
  • Additional actions you might take before starting the day include creating a well-formed outcome, visualising success and accessing your inner resources.
  • Additional actions to take during the day include maintaining rapport with yourself, looking up, taking time out and accessing your resources.
  • At the end of the day, you can check in with yourself, debrief in a constructive way and celebrate your achievements.


8. Resourcing yourself

Resourcing yourself works on the premise that you already have all the inner resources you need inside you.

  • The inner resources or qualities you need in a situation might be such things as humour, contentment, energy persistence or assertiveness.
  • You can use anchoring to trigger the resources you need in a given situation: choose an anchor and the resources you require; one by one, remember when you had each of these resources; access all those feelings associated with them, and visualise using them in the future.


9. Dealing with criticism

Criticism is essentially judgemental, whereas constructive feedback provides information about what actually happened, what you can change and even ideas for how you can develop yourself further. To counter the effects of criticism

  • Manage your reactions
  • If your inner critic is repeating what was said, see what other parts of you have to say about it
  • Ask yourself what mood the other person was in and whether they have your best interests at heart
  • Check out their viewpoint with someone else
  • Reframe what was said.


10. How can I have confidence in others?

Managers who don’t trust others believe the problem lives with the other person, when the reality is that the lack of confidence in others says more about the manager’s personality, confidence levels and ability to manage and communicate with others than it does about the other person’s capabilities. Ask yourself

  • What is needed for me to be more confident in this individual’s performance?
  • What do I need to see, hear or feel to know that they are on track or have succeeded?
  • Do they know and understand what is expected from them?
  • Am I suffering from the tyranny of perfectionism?


11. Can I help others to become more confident?

Self confidence is an inner experience: it is about how individuals think and feel about themselves. Therefore you need to support them in using some of the ideas and techniques in this section to assist them in building their own confidence.

  • Think about what they need in order to become more confident.
  • If you have a good relationship with them, ask them what they need and what you can do to support them.
  • If you don’t feel you can do this, step into their shoes and think through what they want and need from you.
  • Think about how your behaviour is helping or hindering this person.