5 Ways to Boost Employee Confidence

According to a survey of more than 200 people of all genders and across multiple sectors, only 4% of employees feel fully confident at work. The good news is 71% said their employer has their best interests at heart.

So our intentions are in the right place, we just need to take considered action to nurture confidence in our teams. Because when people are confident, we all win. To help, I’ve put together a list of 5 ways to boost employee confidence.

Give feedback in the moment

According to Kim Scott in her book Radical Candor, feedback has a short half life and the benefits quickly deteriorate. Rather than waiting for a review or appraisal to give praise or criticism, pointing it out in the moment gives the receiver the opportunity to fix the problem or build on their success. You’ll also be able to be much more specific with your feedback, as the event is fresh in your mind.

Giving your team the power to act on your feedback will help them build confidence and also shows you’ve got their back. Plus, 77% of respondents to our 2021 State of the Workplace survey said regular feedback would help them feel more confident at work.

Organise regular 1:1s

Having said that, regular feedback is not a substitute for 1:1 conversations. It’s important to create a safe space for your team to vent, make suggestions and seek advice. Sit back and let your team member do most of the talking, your job is to ask questions to help them open up. Most of the time, you’ll find they’re able to come to their own conclusions just by sounding things out – this in turn helps them build confidence in their own abilities.

You should also ask for feedback on your own management during these sessions – asking for both praise and criticism shows you’re open to the same kind of feedback you’re giving to your team and builds their confidence in giving feedback up the chain of command.

Invest in training

64% of respondents to our State of the Workplace survey said external training would help them to feel more confident at work, while 59% cited internal training as a potential solution.

Training in soft skills such as confidence and creativity has become much more prevalent in the workplace over the last 5 years, with providers such as The School of Life and Roar! Training leading the way. Many organisations also invest in coaches to help their employees work through any emotions they might be experiencing, whether they stem from the workplace or not.

Encourage your team to create success spreadsheets

Creating a success spreadsheet can be a really powerful way to celebrate yourself and remember your wins when times get tough. As humans, we often focus on what’s ahead, forgetting to reflect on how far we’ve come.

Encouraging and reminding your team to log their successes can be a valuable way to instill confidence. Ask them to keep a folder on their laptop or in their inbox and keep a record of every time they receive positive feedback. This can then become a way to reflect on their strengths when they’re lacking in confidence.

Be a good role model

Being a good role model starts with admitting to your team when you don’t feel confident. So often, we look at our line managers as infallible and, as bosses, we feel pressure to present ourselves that way. But the reality is we’re all human.

Confidence is not a personality trait, it’s something we all feel at different times in our lives. Showing this to your team will help cement the idea that confidence is something they can work on feeling more of, rather than an all or nothing situation.

Hopefully you’ve picked up some helpful tips for building confidence in your teams. If you’d like to chat more about confidence in the corporate world, I’m all ears. Find us on Instagram or get in touch.

Nominate a friend for a fully funded place on Confidence Now

I wasn’t planning on running another open confidence program for a while, but the current group are absolutely smashing it, it’s such a wonderful thing and I had a few people asking me when they could join. I have already sold 4 places and I hadn’t even updated the dates on the website. GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT.

So. Confidence Now is my 8 week, intensive, not that many places, powerful, getting deep into it, program for people looking to obliterate self doubt, really start showing up, learn about themselves, treat themselves with buckets of compassion and self respect, be open to human connection and putting yourself into the world. Also for this cohort your girl is going to be a fully licensed Hypnotherapist too so my tool belt is…bulging. Weird.

I always offer scholarship places on my programs and 99% of people say “I don’t need it, save it for someone else who does” because you are all absolute royalty. I am, however, so mindful of ensuring my work reaches as many people as possible outside of my direct network, that I am supporting and giving back to communities that lifted me, that I champion underrepresented groups, that I support new business owners and I am as consciously inclusive as possible. Based on this, I thought it might be nice to extend this beyond myself and ask you, dear reader, if you would like to nominate the people in your life who you think might benefit from this program. Everyone is always welcome, there are no rules about who you can or can’t nominate, just whatever feels right to you, if someone comes to mind. The sessions are at 5pm UK time so within reasonable ET, PST timezones and I have trained in creating safe, inclusive spaces (🙏).

I will pick people entirely at random and save all suggestions for future programs. And I am always open for any feedback or suggestions on how to keep showing up for as many people as possible.

Nominate away.

Webinar: How To Unlock Your Inner Confidence

It’s webinar time! This time I want to focus on my real area expertise and that is, confidence. In this webinar I will be talking about the factors and elements that are essential for us to build confidence, during any time in our lives, and how we can use our confidence to build the life and careers we know we deserve. Register below. <3

Are some people just born confident?

Have you ever thought to yourself that you are just not confident? That you were born that way, and are consequently a slave to your genetic destiny? You were shy in school and now in adulthood and that is just the way it always has been and always will be. If so, you are not alone, of the hundreds of people I have supported in feeling more empowered in their careers, this is an incredibly common belief. 

Perhaps you are introverted, have always been shy or are terrified at the thought of public speaking, perhaps you are not as loud as your friends, make less jokes, say less, contribute less in meetings, worry more about what you are about to say, hate networking, speaking on the phone or anything else that may come up for you. I have worked with thousands of people, at all stages of their careers and nearly all of them are intimidated by something, so what really is going on here?

Are some people just born confident?

There is a common belief that some people are just naturally confident, making the gap from petrified to pro seem to be a bridge that only some are biologically destined to cross, whilst others watch on, twiddling thumbs and avoiding eye contact. 

Research to suggest that confidence is genetic is limited and a little scattered, often buried within other personality research, though there is an argument for it. Two main studies comes from geneticist and psychologist Robert Plomin and the National Institute of Health.

Twenty years ago, Plomin decided to undertake an ambitious study of 15,000 sets of twins in Britain. The subjects (who were 7 and 9) were tested academically in three subjects: math, writing, and science. Next, they were asked to rate how confident they were about their abilities in each subject. From this study of twins, Plomin theories that genetics have an impact on our confidence (as defined by our ability to do well) to as much as 25%-50%, whereas the rest is affected by environment, experiences and upbringing. 

This suggests that some of us may have a genetic headstart to self belief, though we can all enter the race. It’s also interesting to point out that this study also showed that believing you will succeed, is a reliable predictor of actually doing so.

Research of 342 participants from the NHI identified a genetic marker for optimism and self esteem. It is also worth considering that the commonly considered opposite of confidence, shyness, is also considered to be around 30% genetic, though researchers and psychologists often have opposing views on this

In a nutshell, some scientists believe that traits such as confidence, optimism and shyness may have genetic influences that play a part, along with environment and external factors.

Confidence as circumstantial 

A consideration in these studies however is that they do not account for the clearly circumstantial nature of self belief. For example, Plomin’s research came to this conclusion through asking children how likely they feel they will succeed at academic based tests. This only shows us how academically confident these children felt. As an adult, I would rate myself low at completing a test, but I would have huge confidence in my ability to read a room, accurately perceive a situation and make people laugh. Likewise, the NIH study focused on optimism, which feels like a different trait altogether to intellectual self belief. 

I have spoken to perhaps a thousand people regarding what areas they feel as though they lack confidence in and there is no universal regularity. People are triggered by different things. For my subjective experience I can stand on a stage and address thousands of people and believe I will do it well. Put me in a room of 5 strangers and ask me to network with them and I will hide in the toilet. Some people feel confident presenting sitting down, others like to stand. Some people feel confident presenting in small groups, others (HELLO) prefer the anonymity of bright lights and big stages. 

Confidence and Neuroplasticity

Another biological consideration comes from neuroscience, namely, the concept of neuroplasticity, which tells us that our brains are always evolving new connections, learning new habits, beliefs and traits based on experience. One kick ass piece of research positively increased participants’ confidence over time through stimulating brain activity. 

Neuroscientists Dr. Mitsuo Kawato and Dr. Aurelio Cortese say;

“How is confidence represented in the brain? Although this is a very complex question, we used approaches drawn from artificial intelligence (AI) to find specific patterns in the brain that could reliably tell us when a participant was in a high or low confidence state. The core challenge was then to use this information in real-time, to make the occurrence of a confident state more likely to happen in the future. Surprisingly, by continuously pairing the occurrence of the highly confident state with a reward — a small amount of money — in real-time, we were able to do just that: when participants had to rate their confidence in the perceptual task at the end of the training, their were consistently more confident.”


Whilst confidence may be genetically influenced, it is also the result of our unique encoded patterns within our brains, which we can actively influence over time.

Confidence as quiet

Another consideration on confidence is when I ask you “how does a confident person behave?” what comes to mind? It may be the powerful communicators with gravitas and well projected voices. It may be those who are most likely to make conversations with strangers. Those who happily share ideas in meetings or give compelling presentations.

Whilst these behaviours may be behaviours in which some confident people engage, it does not logically follow that all people who engage in these behaviours are confident and that those who do not engage in these behaviours are not.

Robust inner confidence, I have come to learn, is inherently quiet. It is a steady, calm, resolve in your abilities. It is the ability to validate yourself, rather than acquire it from others. It is an ability to be vulnerable, to make mistakes, to have faith in your abilities.

Confidence is not measured only in how loud you can shout, it is measured in how willing you are to try.

Those who wish to become more confident may do so from a desire to start public speaking, get better with clients or pitch better in meetings and these are all positive outcomes of confidence, though not the confidence itself, that warmth spreads much farther.

Confidence as a skill

Confidence is unquestionably a skill, that can be learned, developed and applied over time. Whilst some may potentially have a genetic predisposition for confidence we can all develop a more robust self belief slowly, iteratively over time. 

“Self-confidence is an essential quality to succeed in the world, such as in business environments, politics or many other aspects of our everyday life. Furthermore, confidence is an important aspect in mental illnesses such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease, where the condition is often further complicated by patients thinking negatively of their own capacities. Recent advances in neuroscience have highlighted the plasticity of the brain, indicating it is malleable even later in life.” – Science Daily 

A couple of years ago when I began giving confidence training to women in an attempt to get more of us on stages, I perceived myself as confident. I wasn’t, not really. I was happy to stomp about on a stage, but I was worried about my ability to sustain my career, network or even to sustain meaningful relationships. Through ongoing research and discovering the true nature of confidence, from learning through others as I help them with theirs and ongoing work on myself I am starting to develop a robust sense of confidence that positively influences all aspects of my life, rather than only in my circumstantial situations. And I promise you, whatever your environmental factors or genetic makeup, you can too.

If you are interested in becoming more confident and taking real control over your career, you can contact us or find out about our events here

71% of us have turned down opportunities due to a lack of confidence.

In business we are repeatedly required to do things which require a certain amount of self belief. Standing on a stage in front of crowds, confidently selling services to strangers and sharing unfiltered ideas to coworkers can, for many of us, feel incredibly daunting. 

As humans, we are innately social animals. In his book Social, why our brains are wired to connect neuroscientist Matthew Leiberman writes “our brains evolved to experience threats to our social connections in much the same way they experience physical pain. By activating the same neural circuitry that causes us to feel physical pain, our experience of social pain helps ensure [our] survival.” Our instincts are for inclusion; to be excluded, to be socially humiliated or outcast is to fear for our survival. Research tells us that “a fear of exclusion makes the motivation to protect oneself from social threats dominant”. 

In other words, the nerves that so many of us feel when faced with public speaking, pitching, meetings or presentations are a completely normal, rational response to an objective social threat and it is within our nature to actively avoid these threats.

When we consider this, it is not surprising that when we spoke to over 250 professionals across a range of disciplines and levels of experience, over half (51%) of us have turned down the opportunity to speak at an event or conference because we were worried about our performance and that 16% of us have even said no to a promotion because we did not feel we were ready.

confidence in work

(It is worth noting, that when averaged to the total number of responses, of the 71% who responded that they have turned down opportunities because of confidence, 51% were women and 49% were men. Of the 16% who have turned down a promotion because they did not feel ready, 58% were women, 42% were men. This supports that whilst there are social constructs that have, and continue, to hold women back in the workplace, a fear of exclusion, of not doing it right, or getting it wrong, is very much a human response).

Surprisingly, this does not vary hugely according to levels of seniority. It makes sense to think that early in your career new experiences, such as presenting your ideas to your boss, could be daunting, though managers, team leads and businesses owners were within the 71% of have turned down opportunities because of confidence.

I believe, passionately, that we need to start acknowledging this silent fear that so many of us carry around to prevent us from feeling as though it is an internal failing on our part, rather than just a rational response to real world threats. If we do not start to openly discuss and address confidence issues in the workplace, we miss out on a rich tapestry of ideas that come from a plethora of voices. Our stages will miss out on over half of divergent ideas because we are failing to reassure those who turn down speaking opportunities for a fear of failure.

Having worked with hundreds of people on their confidence over the past couple of years, what always surprises me is how most people are convinced that it is just them who feels that way. We conducted this research so I could confirm this hunch, that it’s actually pretty routine to feel shit scared about putting yourself in a vulnerable situation.  What we need to address, though, is the 71% of us who turn down opportunities because we are too worried of negative repercussions.

Public speaking isn’t for everyone, that pitch, that promotion, isn’t for everyone – though we should all be awarded an opportunity to discover what is simply not right for us, or those things that we are not doing because we are letting our, very natural, fear of social exclusion determine our professional behaviour.

Confidence is not just a thing that some people have, it can be learnt, nurtured, developed and drawn upon at key moments. We can manage our nerves, regulate our emotions and develop new patterns of thinking. As neuroscience continues to uncover more of what we understand about the brain and how this impacts our behaviours, I would go as far as to say that the development of confidence within teams will stop being an elusive skill that we silently all wish we had more of and a practical skill that we work to actively attain.

You can sign up to our open Confidence Workshops here or if you are a business looking to empower your team, get in touch.