What can you do to improve your confidence at work?

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Written by Nick Gold on 26 January 2018

A recent review commissioned by the Prime Minister, uncovering that a shocking 300,000 people lose their jobs due to long-term mental health problems every year.  

In my opinion, although mental health has become a main priority for individuals and companies across the UK in recent years, the 'Thriving at Work' report has revealed the extent of a problem that needs urgent attention: ensuring that businesses give enough aid and support to employees who are suffering from mental health issues, not just physical ailments.

One thing that all offices can do is start simple and deal with common and inevitable mental health obstacles that they should be fully equipped to alleviate without being asked. For example, lack of employee confidence. No matter what stage an individual is at in their career, almost everyone experiences episodes of low self-esteem and confidence in the workplace.

I was intrigued to see that recent research carried out by my company Speakers Corner, titled the 'Ultimate Guide to Public Speaking', uncovered some interesting figures about confidence when it came to presenting to larger audiences.

Make sure that your workforce knows that there is a quiet place available where they can sit down with yourself or another manager to talk things through. 

Specifically, we found that confidence increases with age, with 69% of people aged 45 and over feeling quite or very confident compared to only 25% of 16 to 24 year olds. To me this shows that more focus, although not exclusively, needs to be paid to the workplace wellbeing of early careerists who perhaps feel more uncertain and uneasy about their role.

It is tempting to sit at your desk in silence when you are going through one of these episodes but, ultimately, this could lead to deeper and longer term mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. As managers and business leaders, what can you do to encourage employees to approach you and how can you support talent to grow in their career rather than suffer in silence?

Below I have outlined a few measures you can make a part of your business in order to nurture workplace confidence:

Conversation starters

In an online world, it becomes quite easy to hide behind emails and forget the value of a face -to-face conversation. Make sure that your workforce knows that there is a quiet place available where they can sit down with yourself or another manager to talk things through.

Whether it’s a meeting room or a local coffee shop, employees will appreciate knowing that there is somewhere to clear their minds a little. Equally, it is important to encourage more face-to-face interaction in the office to boost both morale and confidence.

Set up team-building sessions or regular social events so that members of your team are engaging more often and, thus, feeling a part of a more personable business.

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Listen and take action

Have employees approached you about something in your office environment or company culture that just isn’t working for them? Perhaps they need a quieter area to retreat to allow for more focus or they would like more training opportunities.

Once this has been communicated, assure the person that their grievances have been heard and then act upon it. Gather other managers to discuss how you could improve this situation and then update the rest of the team on what changes will be made.

If the qualms relate to something that simply can’t be changed, then it could be time to work alongside the employee to see if there is any other ways in which you can help them work towards their goals.

Encourage people to speak out

I pride myself on being a manager that supports and encourages employees to grow both personally and as part of my business. However, I cannot do this without the valued opinions of everyone in my company.

If there is a problem or if there is something I should be introducing to my business to ensure the stability of my workforce’s wellbeing, I may not always be the first to recognise this. If someone sits me down and just talks to me, I always listen.

So yet again, we hark back to the importance of communicating grievances. Encourage your workforce to speak out if there is something that’s making them uncomfortable, particular goals they want to work towards or issues that they think are not being addressed.

Ultimately, there is clearly more that can be done in the workplace to sustain people’s mental health. Whether you are a member of senior management, a colleague or someone who is suffering in silence, there are steps that all of us can take to decrease the alarming amount of people losing their jobs because of mental health issues.

If someone you work with is displaying commonly misunderstood behaviours such as shyness, lack of enthusiasm or being easily distracted, do not jump to the conclusion that the individual does not fit with the company. Make the effort to communicate and get to the heart of the problem and you may find that the situation turns around quicker than you think. 


About the author

Nick Gold is managing director of market-leading speaker bureau and consultancy, Speakers Corner


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