Career Advice

How to Deal With Lack of Confidence at Work – 14 Strategies

Get this: 98% of people perform better at work when they’re confident. However, another statistic shows that 85% of people face low self-esteem

If you want to boost your confidence for better work performance, you’ve come to the right place. Here, I’ll give you 14 strategies on how to deal with lack of confidence at work. I’ll also give you some reasons why you don’t have confidence at work, as well as some examples of what low confidence at work looks like. 

What Causes Lack of Confidence at Work?

Before you can look into the ways to boost confidence, you need to identify what causes lack of confidence at work for YOU. To be sure, there are many reasons why your self-confidence may be low. Here are just a few (try to identify YOUR reason as you go through this list):

  • You’re shy. There are people who are just naturally shy. This can make you feel stressed, awkward, and nervous when you’re around people. When those feelings are at the forefront of your emotions, you will lack confidence. 
  • You’re not as good as your colleagues. It’s so easy to compare yourself to your peers and coworkers. When you see that they’re doing a much better job than you, you’ll start to lose confidence in your work ethic and skills.
  • You’re always unsure. If you’re unsure of every move you make, then your confidence is obviously going to be very low. 
  • You’re very self-critical. Yes, it’s good to be self-critical so you can improve. But too much self-criticism will only lead to less and less confidence at work. 
  • You’re afraid to fail. Fear can hold you back in ways you don’t realize. 
  • You’re a perfectionist. If you’re a perfectionist, no work will be good enough. It has to be 100% perfect before you will feel confident in what you’ve done. 

Read More: My Job Has Destroyed My Confidence: 9 Ways To Deal With A Low Self-Esteem.

Examples of Lack of Confidence at Work 

Now, some people don’t know that they don’t have confidence. And when they don’t know this, they will never be able to improve. This is why, it’s a good idea to know the signs of low self-esteem in the workplace. 

Here are a few lack of confidence at work examples:

  • When you lose confidence at work, you avoid new challenges. 
  • You hesitate to express your ideas and opinions in discussions or meetings. 
  • You don’t like asking questions to your superiors. 
  • You worry that you won’t meet the standards when completing a task. 
  • You withdraw socially from your peers. 
  • You don’t like receiving and giving feedback. 
  • You always doubt the work you’re doing. 
  • You find it hard to accept compliments from your superiors and peers. 
  • You over-apologize. 
  • You turn down leadership roles
  • You feel like you don’t deserve professional success. Instead, you say it’s just your luck. 

Read More: 15 Examples of Confidence in the Workplace to Unlock Success

How to Deal With Lack of Confidence at Work

Elizabeth Perry, the Senior Coach and Community Manager at BetterUp, says this:

“Increasing your self-confidence isn’t as simple as repeating positive affirmations and shifting your body language to seem more assertive. It’s about challenging insecurities, confronting moments of self-doubt, and silencing negative self-talk.” 

In other words, it will take hard work to build confidence. 

But to help you out, here are 14 strategies on how to deal with lack of confidence at work:

  1. Start small
  2. Connect with yourself
  3. Cut out negative self-talk
  4. Change your inner dialogue
  5. Learn to ask questions
  6. Focus on building confident behaviors
  7. Give yourself credit
  8. Accept your mistakes and failures
  9. Try some positive affirmations
  10. Set goals for yourself
  11. Practice how you present yourself
  12. Take time to destress
  13. Remain informed
  14. Find a trusted mentor

1. Start small

Remember, building confidence takes time. It can take around 6 to 12 (or even 18) months before you can feel fully confident in a new job. How much more a job that you’ve been working in for quite some time? 

Also, if you expect to be confident in your abilities or have a positive attitude right away, you might get disappointed if you’re still the same.  

Slowly work up to more intimidating tasks. be more open to the people you trust the most. Focus on your strengths. All these will help you slowly but surely gain confidence. 

2. Connect with yourself

Ann Howell from Harvard Business Review says, “We’re all unique. We all have something valuable to share. You just need to believe that. The first step to doing that is to pause and think about all the things that make you who you are. What is it that makes you special?” 

When you connect with yourself, think about your background, experiences, and traits that shape your unique point of view. When you know who you are, you’ll become self-assured and self-confident. 

3. Cut out negative self-talk

Negative talk is the number one enemy of confidence. If you’re always negative about yourself, then your confidence and self-worth will drop. 

So try as much as possible to stop yourself from being negative. If you feel a negative thought popping up, cut it out. I know this won’t be easy. But if you constantly work on it, you’ll become much better at it. 

Read More: “I Am a Low Performer at Work!” How to Switch It Up and Become a High Performer

4. Change your inner dialogue

It’s not just about cutting out the negative thoughts. No, you need to start thinking positive thoughts too. To do that, give yourself compliments if you do a good job. Write self-affirmations in sticky notes. Reward yourself with a nice cup of coffee. Take care of your mental health. 

When your inner dialogue and outer actions are positive, you’ll start to feel more confident in yourself. In turn, you’ll start to feel more confident in your work. 

5. Learn to ask questions

If you’re shy, this is going to be a very hard ask. But it will do wonders in building your confidence. Remember, asking questions is not a sign of weakness or dumbness. It’s simple because you want to provide the best outcome. 

You can start by asking questions to peers you’re closest to. When you’re confident in that, you can approach senior management. When you consider how far you’ve come — from a shy person who didn’t speak at all to someone who can confidently approach and ask questions when they don’t understand something — it’s a great confidence booster.

Read More: 22 Signs You Are Not Valued At Work.

6. Focus on building confident behaviors

Confident behaviors include seeking constructive feedback, developing skills, having a growth mindset, building relationships, taking breaks to relax, contributing ideas, volunteering for opportunities, and the list goes on and on. If you focus on these areas, you’ll naturally become more confident in the workplace. 

Read More: 15 Signs of Insecure Coworkers (and How to Handle Them).  

7. Give yourself credit

Yes, it’s important to have room for growth. But if you’re always focusing on the “growing, growing”, you’ll start to lack confidence if you see no growth. This is why always give yourself credit for a job well done. 

You can pat yourself on the back and admit that you did a great job. You might even want to reward yourself with a short break or a nice meal. Also, accept the compliments from others. They’re giving you these compliments for a good reason. 

8. Accept your mistakes and failures

Everyone makes mistakes. This is why so many perfectionists face low self-esteem. They immediately feel not worthy if there is one mistake, no matter how small. 

Even if you’re the best at what you do, you should never expect to do a perfect job all the time. So instead of dwelling on the mistake (and hating yourself for it), it’s better to accept the mistake and find ways to improve on it. 

9. Try some positive affirmations

Yes, positive affirmations are not the most helpful way to build confidence – but it does work sometimes. So before you go to work, give yourself positive affirmations to get ready for the day. Even while you’re at work, you can write these positive affirmations on your sticky notes. And when it’s time to go home, tell yourself that you did a good job that day. 

Jim Kwik on X says this:

“On the days you only have 40%, and you give 40%. You gave 100%.”

10. Set goals for yourself

If you’re looking for practical ways to boost your confidence, you can set goals for yourself. Goals like “take on one new task today”, “make eye contact when someone talks to you”, or “ask at least one question a day” will help you on your way to being confident at work. 

As you work on this, try to make your goals more challenging. You can include “gain new skills”, “start a new project”, “make a new friend”, etc. 

Read More: Ultimate Guide to Setting SMART Career Objectives (with Examples)

11. Practice how you present yourself

Did you know that how you dress and style your hair can impact your confidence? The same is true with how you carry yourself and the tone you use. 

Of course, you should always follow the dress code. But if you’re able to incorporate your style into that, and spend some time looking your best, you will feel ready to take on the day. That is one way to increase your confidence. 

You can also display confidence (to yourself and others) by sitting up straight, speaking up while talking, maintaining eye contact, and showing enthusiasm. You don’t want to show that you’re nervous because, when you do, your lack of confidence will be on full display, and you’ll feel even more insecure. 

12. Take time to destress

Workplace burnout is real. When that happens, you’ll start making mistakes, thinking negative thoughts, and feeling insecure again. This is why it’s always good to take time to destress. 

Something as simple as doing relaxing breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation will do the trick. This is when you tense one muscle group and then release it. Tense another muscle group, and release. These are ways you can destress while you’re sitting at your desk. 

Read More: 17 Great Ways On How To Make Time For Exercise With A Busy Schedule.

13. Remain informed

It’s much easier to have confidence when you know what you’re doing. This is why it’s so important to do your research, study industry trends, take online courses, get certifications, and talk with senior management. The more you know, the more confident you become. 

14. Find a trusted mentor

Building confidence on your own takes time. What’s more, you won’t feel pressured to make any new improvements if you don’t feel like it. But if you have a mentor, they’ll help you feel more confident much sooner. 

Of course, you need to find someone you can trust. This way, you can be very open to them and talk about your struggles with low self-esteem. In turn, they will provide encouragement and a guide on what you should do. This will make everything much easier as you’re not alone. 

Final Words

If you want to have self-confidence at work, you first need to identify the cause of your low self-esteem. For some, you might even have to acknowledge that you’re not confident.

Either way, you should follow the 14 strategies on how to deal with lack of confidence at work. If you follow these strategies, you’ll be able to improve your overall work experience and performance. 

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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