How do you know if Low Self-Confidence is Silently Undermining Your Career?

Woman squashed by foot Since increasing self-confidence is one of the main issues I work on with my professional female clients, this article on how low self-esteem may be undermining your hard work in Forbes caught my eye. Experts say that people with low self-esteem engage in subconscious behaviors that undermine their success, making them less likely to ask for or get promotions, raises and even jobs. Lois Frankel author of ‘Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office' says ‘We make assumptions about people who exhibit behaviors of low self-esteem, we may ascribe lower intelligence, even though it’s not true.’ So here are some signs to watch out for which will give you away; People with low self-esteem are less likely to speak up in meetings, may be more risk averse, and not volunteer for challenging tasks.  They may speak too quietly denoting fear or make statements as though they are questions showing a lack of confidence in what they are saying. They also tend to be more pessimistic sadly making what they fear – rejection – come true. At the opposite end of the scale people with high self esteem have been found to have greater job satisfaction, better job performance, higher income and less stress, all great reasons to work on your confidence. Men tend to be better at hiding their lack of confidence whereas women make the mistake of asking permission and over explaining. Some great tips include ‘faking it until you make it’ which can help to fool your conscious mind, trying to speak up early in a meeting, seen as a sign of confidence, and using 25% fewer words in conversations and emails so that you don’t dilute your point. As demand for productivity and performance grows professional females need to learn how to portray confidence and ensure that low self-esteem doesn’t contribute to them becoming workaholics in order to prove themselves.

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  • Nicola H

    Great article Suzanne. I’ve found myself becoming a more quietly spoken Senior Manager especially around a “shouty” Director. For some reason I think I will suddenly change after a holiday when I plan to re-read “Beyond the Boys Club” – fingers crossed my plan will work and the break and the planned “literary pill” will work!