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Why self-confidence is a key skill when working in the corona era

By Roddy Adair, Director, Hays Personal & Executive Assistants


Most of us, at some stage or another question ourselves. We question our abilities, our skill, our judgement. We worry that we’re not good enough. We listen to the self-deprecating thoughts buzzing around in our minds, and we take those thoughts to heart. After all, we’re all human and all of us experience a dent to our self-confidence at some stage or another, some more regularly than others.

But, as we emerge into a completely new era of work, do the current changes risk limiting our self-confidence even further?

A nuanced skillset is needed to work well from home
The world has been shaken by the biggest crisis of a generation, and we all pressed pause on daily life. Since the pandemic began, it’s likely that negative feelings have become more frequent for you – particularly if you’ve been thrown the additional challenge of working from home, full time, for the first time in your professional career, or if you were placed on furlough leave.

Our daily working lives became almost unrecognisable from what they once were, pre-crisis – and some things may have changed forever, such as our key priorities or the way we communicate with our colleagues. Everything has completely turned on its head – and that can be extremely unsettling – possibly a little unnerving at times.

A new ‘hybrid’ working world – in which employees that may have once worked all together, now work different hours and/or from different locations – also requires a slightly nuanced skillset in order to be successful.

To work well in a ‘hybrid’ team, you’ll need the following soft skills, among others:

  • Collaboration and communication
  • Adaptability and an agile way of working
  • Self-motivation and self-discipline
  • Time management and punctuality

Six tasks which will test your self-confidence in this new era of work
Of course, there are many soft skills missing from the brief list above, but one key skills which is sometimes over-looked in this context is the need to be self-confident – the need to have faith in your own abilities, skills and judgement.

I can’t think of an event in recent history that has sparked so much change in such a short period of time. Much of that change has impacted the daily working lives of many of us – the tasks we’re responsible for, the way we communicate, when we work and where we work from. There are so many new changes to digest and new ways of working to learn, that building our self-confidence is key if we are to adapt to these quickly and be successful in this new era.

We’ll explore how we can all boost our self-confidence in a moment. But first, let’s take a look at the areas in which a lack of self-confidence could prove to be a barrier when working during this challenging time:

  1. Getting to grips with new technological tools that you might not have used before
  2. Presenting your work via a virtual meeting
  3. Maintaining a good relationship with your manager and colleagues remotely or whilst social distancing
  4.  Raising any challenges you’re facing in terms of your wellbeing, mental health or workload with your manager, perhaps remotely
  5. Crafting your role to support changed or new objectives, or to better support other teams or departments
  6. Setting a daily schedule that prioritises your wellbeing but keeps your productivity high

How to become more self-confident when working from home
Self-confidence is a skill. It’s something we can all master with learning, practice and persistence.

Think about it – if you lack confidence in public speaking and make a concerted effort, your confidence will improve over time. After all, as this Inc article explains, “…developing skills always leads to more confidence.”

So how can we train ourselves to become more confident and, in turn, optimise how well we work now? Of course, a lot of this will come from finding your feet and establishing new routines and rituals, but there are a few tricks you can try:

  1. Develop a growth mindset, and see challenge or failure as an opportunity to learn
  2. Appreciate what you’re good at and where your unique strengths lie – and remind yourself of these daily
  3. Be self-aware regarding your negative self-deprecating thoughts, and keep your inner-critic in check
  4. Always set daily goals, broken down into smaller tasks, and work towards achieving these each day – tick them off as you go along, and consider each completed task as an accomplishment
  5. Celebrate and acknowledge any small wins or positive feedback - consider creating a ‘smile file’ that you can refer to when you have a tough day, or share any successes with a colleague or friend
  6. Always be honest about how you’re feeling with your close network: they will help give you a boost when you need it
  7. Step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself from time to time – and acknowledge the bravery it took to do so
  8. Give yourself autonomy by setting a structure for your day, learning new skills and looking after your wellbeing

When working to build your self-confidence, remember, what you’re doing is perfecting a skill – the more you practice these habits, the more self-confident you’ll become. It’s that simple.

In this new world of work that we all find ourselves in, we are faced with a whole host of fresh challenges. And, as with any other challenge that we’ve faced before, a degree of self-confidence is needed to overcome and master. Building self-confidence isn’t easy, but it can be done with practice, patience and persistence. So, I hope you’ve found these simple steps useful in helping you silence your inner-critic and find the confidence you need to work well remotely, now and in the future.

If you’re considering your next step, get in contact with one of our expert recruitment consultants for a confidential chat about the career options available to you, or to access a host of resources for helping you adapt to the new way of working, visit our Inspire Me in the New Era of Work Hub. As your lifelong career partner, we are with you every step of the way and will be updating this site regularly with new guides, blogs and information to support you.

About this author

Roddy joined Hays in 1999 as a Recruitment Consultant. In 2012 he took over operational responsibility for Hays in Scotland, managing dedicated teams providing expert temporary and permanent recruitment services for a wide range of sectors and professions. From 2017, he has been the lead for Hays Personal & Executive Assistants business across the UK, providing strategic leadership to over 200 consultants.

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