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How to be confident and generally fabulous at work?

(27 Posts)
Streambeam Tue 12-Jun-18 21:13:56

I’m returning to work after some time out. I want to be one of those cool, competent women that seem like they really know their shit but never tip into arrogance (previously I very much gave off a rather ‘meek and muddling through’ vibe).

We all know a self-possessed cool cucumber, any tips or ideas about how to fake it till I make it?!

Much appreciated.

Queenofthedrivensnow Tue 12-Jun-18 21:28:57

Start with being super organised it's what I do. My team think I am on top of things though I'm not really

mumonashoestring Tue 12-Jun-18 21:32:25

Breathe and think before you react - the poker face will come with time but to start with just make sure that when something happens, you take a breath or two before speaking (or replying if it's an email). Gives your brain a chance to start working and gives the impression that you're not panicking all at once.

MissTulipan Tue 12-Jun-18 21:37:07

Be well groomed and dress as well as you can every day.

TheFifthKey Tue 12-Jun-18 21:38:02

Never ever start an utterance with “sorry”. Even if you’re wrong 😂

If you have a problem, go armed with a solution. My boss thanked me for spotting a possible issue and coming to her complete with a way to solve it instead of just moaning. It makes you look in control.

Be organised with your time - I arrive at almost the last minute and leave as soon as I can for childcare reasons BUT I am never late, and sometimes let it be known I have delegated childcare for a sick child to come one else so I could work (I’m a lone parent).

Try not to flap. Bring your lunch or money to buy some - don’t witter about being hungry but you didn’t have time to make anything because you were running out of the door, etc. Give the impression you have it together, even if you don’t. Lay your clothes out the night before. Fill up with petrol on the way home, not on the way to work so you’re never arriving flustered.

Basically it’s a confidence trick to make you look like you’ve got it all covered. Once people think that you’re cool and collected you can be as flustered as you want and nobody will bat an eyelid! But the first month or so is crucial to project who you want people to think you are.

backinaminute Tue 12-Jun-18 21:41:09

Sorry (lol) to jump on this post but I'm starting a new job next week so making notes of all of this. I very much want to set the tone of how these people see me, with a good first impression.

usernamefromhell Tue 12-Jun-18 21:44:34

1. Be super organised (as queenofthedrivensnow said). Very organised people can make up for a lot of other shortcomings.
2. Look as good and groomed as you can as often as you can.
3. Knowing your shit isn't the same as arrogance. Have the courage of your convictions and don't be too quick to back down.
4. Don't worry what other people think about you other than your direct line managers. You have absolutely no control over it and it doesn't matter.
5. If (as I am assuming) you are returning to work after a child-rearing break, don't talk too much about your kids/parenting struggles until you get to know people. You will juggle and struggle sometimes but don't show it: don't give people ammunition to think you are on the mummy track and don't bore the childless with your war stories. Save this for trusted friends or when you know colleagues really well.

Thesearepearls Tue 12-Jun-18 21:47:46

I think you should be yourself OP. Don't try to be something you're not. I mean obviously you might be the person that you want to project but if not then just be yourself

I speak as someone who is not well groomed (cba with having nails done, hate high heels, never wears make up), shuffles into a room sidelong, and apologises for drawing breath. But I am highly organised and I have a super career. Just by being myself really. Authenticity is the most important thing in a career.

Suzietwo Tue 12-Jun-18 21:56:46

What she said. Be yourself. I have made a career out of calling people c#%^s and being quite angry.

Almondio Tue 12-Jun-18 22:03:08

I used to be very under-confident at work when I was in my 20s, working in a very competitive and high stress environment which I loved but it was hard work. I had DCs and freelanced pretty much through my 30s.
Now in 40s I'm back in a role I love for a great organisation and feel the most confident, valued and respected I've ever felt. Whether this is age, experience or just having found my niche, I'm not sure, but this is what I think:

Be friendly but don't over-share, ask people for help but always try and find the solution first. Be organised.
Really important to be you, as that's the person who they want in the role. Know your worth, recognise your abilities and be prepared to share your knowledge.
Always have an answer, even if it's 'I'll find out more and get back to you'. Don't talk over people, give them the space to talk and expect the same in return.

Good luck with the new role!

chestylarue52 Tue 12-Jun-18 22:05:17

Don’t make the coffee
Don’t apologise
Don’t take notes (unless it’s your actual job)
Don’t suffer idle chit chat (hello hun how are you?! Good Hun you? Yeah Hun fine etc)
Keep a vague smile through most meetings (while you’re planning what to have for tea)
Learn the art of saying ‘I’ll have to check but I’ll definitely get back to you’ (giving you chance to get back to your desk and formulate a polite reply which means no way, do your job yourself
Turn up on time, leave on time

chestylarue52 Tue 12-Jun-18 22:06:15

@Almondio makes a great post

brainepson Tue 12-Jun-18 22:07:27

Read this

Be calm
Be kind and personable
Agree what the deliverables are and achieve them
Meet deadlines
Keep your sense of humour
Ask for help and offer it in return

topcat2014 Tue 12-Jun-18 22:08:23

Agree with PP on not saying sorry. I always tell my staff (all female) when they start phone conversations this way.

They often don't even notice.

I am by no means an Alpha Beta, Gamma? male, but honestly I never use that S word.

Apologising all the time is no good for self esteem.

tomatoplantproject Tue 12-Jun-18 22:18:59

My magic words are "let me go away and think about that, I need to sleep on the decision so I can consider all angles". Under promise and over deliver, and listen to others and pick up the cues rather than taking notes. If you take notes then note the actions and follow up quickly with who is responsible for what actions. Don't rush to volunteer to do something unless it's definitely in your remit (again, under promise and over deliver).

BonnieF Tue 12-Jun-18 22:35:08

Know your stuff, and know it properly.

Expertise is credibility. Credibility creates respect.

If you work in any form of technical or safety related role, don’t bluff or try to ‘fake it’, because that will undermine your credibility.

RavenLG Tue 12-Jun-18 22:40:53

After a recent convo with my manager I’m definitely feeling more confident, she told me to basically stop giving a shit, it’s just a job. Translated to don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t worry about things you can’t control. Has very much made me feel more comfortable in my role.

ilovewinterpansies Tue 12-Jun-18 22:41:39

Read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Some fantastic insight into how women undersell themselves. She's totally right and I've learned volumes from it.

Neverender Tue 12-Jun-18 22:45:24

Get a deadline for EVERYTHING.
Make your promises clear, and then keep them.
Be honest.
Take an ENORMOUS interest in what everyone else does/hoe you can help them.
Never stop learning.
Never stop saying thank you.
Never stop asking people for their ideas.
Always be prepared to re-think what you think you know.

The more insecure we are at work the more we assume or shut people down. Be brave and look for the best possible outcome, not just to one that people honk is the obvious solution. They're all infected with the limitations of their organisation. Don't be. It's magically freeing and makes for far better strategic planning. Best of luck!

PositiveVibez Tue 12-Jun-18 22:46:54

I agree with age comes confidence. Being confident in knowing what you are doing is important.

Neverender Tue 12-Jun-18 22:48:46

It doesn't matter what time you turn up or what time you leave if you DELIVER MEASURABLE RESULTS! I did this...tada!!!

JustHereForThePooStories Tue 12-Jun-18 22:50:04

Learn how to handle making mistakes. You’ll make mistakes.

Know your shit. Seriously. Study your work. Be able to look at problems, understand them, and propose and troubleshoot different solutions.

Get involved. Work with others, share knowledge, and learn from them.

Do someone a favour, call it in when you need something from them.

Keep your work area organised.

Speak at meetings. Build your reputation. Get your face known.

Solicit feedback, and act on it.

If you’re in a corporate setting, try and do a course on facilitation and/or negotiation.

Trust your voice.

KeepServingTheDrinks Tue 12-Jun-18 23:09:38

Agree with all the above and would add be friendly, but don't try to make friends. Friendships may or may not come, but the important thing is the job.

Be a good colleague.

Want2bSupermum Tue 12-Jun-18 23:20:39

Great advice on here.

I'll add have your calendar organized with time you are not available blocked out. Doesn't matter if it's work or personal. You are not available.

Know your goals and crush them. Never miss a deadline without an extremely good reason which wasn't foreseen and not something you could influence.

Rollonweekend Tue 12-Jun-18 23:30:51

So much great advice here.

You're at an advantage coming in as a new person so no-one has any pre-conceptions of you.

Listen a lot and don't promise too much early one when you meet stakeholders. People will believe what they see so if you project a confident persons they will buy it. You'll get hijacked by people who want you to further their agenda .... listen, take notes, nod and don't commit to anything early.

Establish what your boss wants you to focus on for your next 30, 60, 90 days and that will be your priority.

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