Getting job confidence back

by 04 Sep 2007

Q. I have been in my job for quite a long time and I feel that I have lost my self-confidence because of a combination of dominating work colleagues and a lack of new challenges. I have lost sight of what value I add. How can I get my confidence back?

A. How easy it would be to say in response to this question – and as I am sure many people would expect to read –“leave it all behind; move on, find a new role, a place where you feel you are more valued”. As a recruiter, I am more than well aware that a great number of candidates often leave their jobs not only as they are dissatisfied with the job alone, but more often as a result of discontent or frustration with the people they work with or report to.

In the current employment market it would certainly be tempting to try and find that new challenging job given the abundance of HR opportunities in our extremely strong economy, however where a ‘lack of confidence’ is concerned, putting yourself out in the market so to speak, where you need to be at your absolute best, is certainly not the ideal solution in this situation.

Let’s consider the situation you find yourself in. HR professionals are not the best self promoters. As people that have consciously chosen a career that is responsible for partnering the rest of the business, supporting others to achieve success in their own roles, HR professionals often leave their own career and development needs aside. Consider these four practical actions in order to build and sustain confidence.

Explore your value. Take some time out to review and reflect on what you have achieved in your time with the business and more broadly your career to date. Devote the time to recording what you have achieved above and beyond your original job remit and the feedback you may have been lucky enough to receive. Remember that all you achieved has depended on you, not just good luck and being in the right place at the right time.

Seek feedback. If you lack self-confidence, then those feelings will most likely be obvious to the people around you. If you don’t believe in yourself, then, to be harsh, it is quite possible your colleagues, clients and manager might not believe in you either. If you have found it difficult to review and reflect on your own achievements, your value and how you may be perceived by colleagues, then seek feedback from a trusted friend, previous manager or internal client. He or she may be able to help you put your image in perspective. Taking this idea a step further, consider engaging a mentor either internally or external to the business.

Focus on your strengths. Certainly, it is important to spend some time focusing on our weaknesses and our opportunities for improvement, but let’s turn this around. Record your strengths and undeniable attributes that work well for you in the business and use them more! You will begin to gain respect from people who enjoy working with you for those very strengths and attributes. This will undoubtedly have a positive effect on your own confidence level.

Stretch yourself. Don’t wait for the challenges to come to you, challenge yourself by putting yourself out there. Volunteer for a special HR or cross-functional project. If you are able to work on a project that you feel particularly passionate about or that utilises one or more of your identified strengths, you will certainly demonstrate to yourself and your colleagues alike that you are more than capable of achieving excellent results. What a fantastic confidence booster, knowing that instead of sitting on the sidelines, you put yourself out there and used a great amount of initiative. Take care to not set yourself up for failure, rather be strategic in understanding where you can make the difference.

In summary, confidence can be regained in your current job, however you will need to assert yourself in order to turn things around. Don’t let this problem paralyse you. Instead, seek the assistance you need to enable you to lead your own way and then reap the benefits. Self-confidence is imperative to your success.

By Melanie Barrett, The Next Step, Melbourne.