You’re not as confident as you think if you do these 7 things at work

You might think you’re pretty confident, but what if your actions at work said otherwise? We’ve compiled the seven things that indicate a subtle lack of self-belief in the workplace that could damage your career.

How low confidence is perceived in the workplace

“How confident you are stems from your level of self-belief, which entirely influences every interaction you have with other people – be it at work or at home,” says career performance coach Charlotte Crabtree. “The thought patterns that stem from the way you feel about yourself dictate the way you speak to people, respond to others and behave in all situations.”

For example, signs of low confidence can show up as being irritable, taking things personally, or struggling with the occasional bout of impostor syndrome. “That’s going to lead to things like poor communication, emotional outbursts, and not taking action that’s going to get you the results you need in your career.”

And it translates into missed opportunities — think having a genius idea in a meeting but not recognizing it as such or sharing it. On the other hand, feeling unshakeable confidence will help you produce better outcomes with less effort, according to Crabtree.

“When you feel confident in yourself, the action you need to take becomes easier. It’s easier to make decisions, speak up, focus rather than procrastinate and, most importantly, say no to more than you can handle,” she says.

“It’s also easier to ask for help, because you’re not beating yourself up for not being able to cope with something like an overwhelming workload or a really difficult client.”

Ready to assess how confident you truly are at work by taking inventory of your day-to-day habits?

1. Being a ‘yes’ person

“If every time someone asks you ‘Have you got two minutes?’ or ‘Could you just…?’ you say yes or even if every time big new projects land on your plate you agree without first considering your options, it’s a sign of people-pleasing and can stem from not believing that what you’re already doing is good enough,” says Crabtree.

2. Struggling with work relationships

“If you find it easy to chat with your boss, clients, colleagues, and other friends at work, chances are you’re quite comfortable in your own skin – even if you have things you want or need to work on, this is a great foundation that will support you as you grow.”

On the other hand, struggling with work relationships is often synonymous with something deeper going on in your relationship with yourself.

3. Checking your emails at night

If the thought of missing a message from a client or boss stresses you out and you constantly check your emails outside of work hours, it could indicate lower confidence.

“You’ve worked hard all day, this is your time – and what can you really do overnight anyway? Rather than looking for constant external validation that you’re valuable by being available 24/7, use this time to switch off and relax so you can get back to it fully charged the next day.”

4. Not sharing your ideas in a meeting

Have you ever bitten your tongue in a meeting only to regret it later when more senior people share the exact insight you had in mind?

“You can blame it on the pace of discussion, that there wasn’t a suitable gap to contribute or that you couldn’t get a word in, but if you’re not contributing something you have to say, this suggests you might not believe in yourself or your ideas enough to warrant putting yourself out there,” according to Crabtree.

5. Analysis paralysis

“Half of the battle with decision-making is trusting yourself to make the right decision. If you find that when it comes down to it, you know your stuff better than anyone and can easily make the right call, you’re clearly quite competent at what you do and know it, so celebrate it!”

Sounds more like a far-fetched ideal than your daily reality? Is analysis paralysis your MO when it comes to important decisions? You might need to work on your confidence.

6. Complaining about work

If you’re spending your lunch breaks, evenings, and weekends bitching about your boss, your toxic coworkers, or how ridiculous a new process or colleague is, you might not feel valued at work. This can be a massive confidence killer but also could point to some shakiness in your self-worth in the first place.

7. Chronic dissatisfaction

It’s normal to have bad days, but to have bad weeks that turn into bad months and quarters and years is a red flag. Happy, confident professionals tend to leave the office feeling good on most days despite the occasional bumps in the road.

“You might worry from time to time about your performance review or crave a bit of feedback, but if you’re leaving the office most days feeling like you’ve accomplished something, this is a sign that you’re recognizing your achievements,” says Crabtree.