Everyone knows that competency is essential in any job; without the right skills and expertise you're not going to move very far up the career ladder. But without confidence, competency will only take you so far. Unfortunately in today's workplace, too many perfectly capable women lack the confidence required to progress in their careers. However, new research from Crunch Accounting has found the rise of female world leaders like Theresa May and Angela Merkel is inspiring a fresh wave of confidence in today's female workforce. A third of British women said they feel more confident at work, while one in 10 felt more confident when haggling or negotiating a deal.
Building confidence doesn't take a complete personality overhaul. Here are five simple steps to become more self-assured and get you where you need to be.
1. Find the right mindset
Confidence isn't something that's developed over night, so it's important not to be too hard on yourself. Expecting a complete personality overhaul isn't only unfair - it's unrealistic! Set yourself achievable and realistic goals.
Don't forget to focus on the positives. Spend some time thinking about the times when you have succeeded and excelled at a task. Who hasn't experienced success that's in turn bolstered their self-belief? Picturing and envisioning positive examples of confidence trains your brain to focus on the good and recreate that feeling.
2. Figure out where you want to go
Being more confident means different things to different people. It's important to narrow down exactly what you want to change in your professional life, because finding more confidence doesn't come with a one size fits all solution.
Want to feel more confident in a particular skillset? Why not check out free training and up-skilling tools online - there are plenty of free courses and webinars tackling different areas of professional life. It's also worth chatting to your line manager about areas you would like to improve and grow in. Managers love to see proactive learning from their team and will probably know of relevant training opportunities in your sector.
3. Give yourself a fighting chance
There's nothing worse than going into a meeting or tackling a new task if you don't feel prepared. A few extra hours of prep time can make the world of difference and can help you constructively tackle feelings like being overwhelmed or out of your depth.
Why not try waking up earlier before an important meeting, or setting aside some time to really understand a task and what's being asked of you. If you struggle to find your voice in meetings, dedicate some time to preparing the main talking points you would like to communicate. Then try rehearsing them in different settings - in front of the mirror, in the shower or while chatting to your partner or friends, all work really well. Be sure to check out meeting agendas in advance, so you you're confident about the main issues being covered and areas you can contribute.
4. Take a scientific approach
There are some fascinating scientific studies into what factors influence confidence levels. One report found dressing for success can indeed pay off - with people who wore more formal attire feeling more confident and powerful. But that doesn't mean you have to dust off the shoulder pads and power suit - just some new smart threads can make you feel more confident in yourself.
Another study found that choosing the right playlist could boost your self-belief. Songs with heavier bass levels tended to make people feel more dominant and determined. Even small changes to your posture can make all the difference, with one study linking sitting up straighter with higher rates of positive thinking and optimism.
5. Find some positive role models
Modelling yourself on the people you admire is a great way to pick up confidence-boosting habits and behaviours. Confident people often share a lot of similar traits, from their body language and their choice of language, through to their personal interactions and professional relationships. This isn't about comparing yourself to others - there will be places you excel where others fall short, and vice versa. But surrounding yourself with positive and pro-active personality types gives you the chance to add these characteristics to your own repertoire.