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Twitter Q&A: Confidence at work

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Coach Lyndsey Whiteside joined Edge for a Twitter question and answer session on the importance of confidence and self-esteem at work

Edge: Welcome to today's Q&A @LyndseyInspired on confidence at work. Would you like to start by introducing yourself? 

LI: Hi - lovely to be here! I'm a 'Being Noticed' coach. I use my PR experience to help leaders and managers be comfortable and confident in who they are!

Edge: So how important is confidence and self-esteem in work do you think? Does it help you to be a better boss?

LI: It's vital! First of all, it gets you through the door of a job. If you are negotiating salary or fees, then your self worth is directly connected to your net worth. People – clients, customers, bosses, staff are all looking for a leader. They want someone they can trust and depend on. As a leader, you need to have the courage of your convictions, to go with your gut instinct and to be innovative - the vanguard of your industry. Everyone around you is looking to you to be a leader - you need to believe in yourself so that they can too. You are in a role where you have responsibilities. You have to have had the talent to get there in the first place so you must recognise that talent within yourself. You have either been picked or you've picked yourself, so now you have a job to do.

Edge: Is confidence something you acquire through the work you do - or is it about having balance in every area of life?

LI: I think that when you're brilliant at your job and you're committed and passionate, then it's natural to have gained confidence through that role. You're recognised, rewarded for your hard work and everyone around you tells you that you're brilliant as you rise up the ranks or grow your empire. It can be all consuming which is admirable but if confidence is knowing you can do anything then how will you know you can do anything if all you ever do is work? Self- esteem is one of the results of being a wholehearted, accomplished human being – being fulfilled in all areas of your life. When you're enjoying you're life, when you're inspired by life, it shines through in every piece of work you do.

Edge: In work, what factors can influence how confident we're feeling on a daily basis & how can we deal with them? 

LI: Confidence isn't necessarily about being showy and happy. It's about knowing that whatever happens, you'll be OK. As a confident person, you know that whatever work throws at you, you'll be able to deal with it. It's a self-belief that's indomitable even if you're having the worst day ever. One of the things that can affect confidence is how others treat you. If you've had a negative comment or a problem you've struggled with, then it can send the toughest person off to sulk but knowing that you are doing the best thing and having a belief in doing the 'right' thing brings you back. It is knowing that the situation is bad rather than you are bad at your job. It's fixable and you can fix it.

Edge: Do you think confident managers ultimately gain more respect?

LI: I think truly confident managers do. There's a big difference between false confidence and real confidence. Real confidence doesn't need constant boosting by others, it allows a manager to delegate effectively and manage teams and clients well. Confidence allows us to be empathetic and to bring our teams up so everyone looks great. It diminishes the need to be liked by everyone and it inspires a team. It also means that you can upward manage effectively. Confidence allows you to express your needs well to all key stakeholders.

Edge: Can our appearance or how we present ourselves have an impact on our confidence do you think?

LI: The old rule used to be 'dress for the job role you want'. I think feeling sharp and powerful definitely has an impact on how we come across but it's really to do with letting our own personal style shine through. There are certain unspoken rules but clients and bosses want to know that you've made an effort for them, that you deem them important enough but if you can feel comfortable in your own skin (and clothes)! then that's really what shows through. The way that you feel about yourself will have a direct link to the way others feel about you. If you're unhappy about the way you present yourself then it will impact on everything. You'll be self-conscious and that's not going to allow you to work at the best of your ability. Imagine feeling so great about your appearance that you start to let your mind and your talent get noticed? That's success!

Edge: Does having a good work/life balance help confidence? 

LI: Often tiredness can leave us feeling drained & lacking self-esteem. Confidence means setting boundaries. This is something I've had to learn! Getting decent amounts of sleep, nutrition and or when you're tired – work takes far longer than when you're refreshed. Really enjoying your life means that you can put so much more in to your work. Having knowledge and being inspired outside of work adds to your effectiveness and it's impressive.

Edge: How far do you believe in the old adage, 'fake it until you make it' to give the impression of confidence at work?

LI: Bosses look for well-rounded individual and though it's hard – we're all much more in control, respected and valued when we set time boundaries. Look at the goals you want to achieve at work and play. Making time for yourself will enhance your self-esteem dramatically! When we notice ourselves, people notice us too. It gives us the chance to put ourselves forward no matter what rather live in fear of being 'found out' for being a fraud. Confidence starts right here and now and it's about knowing who we really are and being OK with that!


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