Are you finding it increasingly difficult to quieten those voices of self-doubt that are lurking in your head? You know which ones we’re talking about – the voices telling you that you’re not as smart as others, not as capable and that when the business finds out, you will be first in line when there are cut-backs.
Workplace insecurities make it difficult for us to stand up and be heard, makes us tentative in our work relationships, undermines collaboration and can make our teams less creative and efficient. It stops us being our true selves and prevents innovation, two highly desirable characteristics of organisations at present.
It also means that we become dependent on external praise, recognition, admiration and even promotion. When these are not as forthcoming as we would like, we spiral into self-doubt.
All employees, even managers and execs, deal with self-doubt from time to time. So, if your insecurities are holding you back at work, it's time to reach the bottom of the situation.
Here is some advice for working out where your workplace insecurities are coming from – and how to conquer them!
Insecurity # 1 – I am not good enough
If you feel like everyone around you is smarter or better at their job than you are, remind yourself that you got hired for a reason. Your higher-ups saw something valuable in you, so try to focus on your strengths instead of the areas where you feel you lack.
Everyone working with you has strengths and weaknesses, and the best hiring managers will choose a well-rounded workforce. That means some people really might be better than you at some tasks – but they’re probably thinking the same thing about you! Don’t fixate on your inferiority; ask yourself what you can learn from those you look up to.
Insecurity # 2 – Everyone is judging me
If you have a strong desire to be liked by everyone, then it is common to feel the fear of being negatively judged. Let's face it – humans are always judging each other. So, avoiding issues, withholding opinions and working overtime to please people to avoid judgement won't guarantee the outcome you are seeking.
What you can do is decide the type of person you want to be at work, and then stay true to your values. Accept that people will like and dislike you and your views and that's ok – you won't always like theirs either. But what you will do is gain respect for standing up for what you believe in – and you will likely form strong bonds with those who share your views.
If your values are very different from those in the organisation, this could create conflict for you at work. It may be perfectly acceptable if you need to start a positive change process. It could also be a signal that a workplace more aligned to your values could be a better fit
Insecurity # 3 – If I can’t win, I don’t want to play.
Do you get upset when you aren’t respected and admired for being the smartest, fastest most capable in the room? Do you measure yourself up against your colleagues and feel jealous by their achievements? An underlying streak of fierce competitiveness could be underlying your insecurities.
Olympic swimmers are taught to swim their own race and focus on improving their personal best. They encourage and support their teammates to do the same – which is a perfect analogy for the workplace.
When you stop competing against others and focus on self-improvement, your energy goes into building your strengths and capabilities so you will shine by default. You will know when you've done a "personal best" can high-five yourself, without needing external recognition. Further, with that jealous, frustrated streak gone, you are likely to be a more supportive team player which is an admirable quality in itself.
Speaking of athletes, read more about lessons from the sports field that can be applied at work.
Insecurity #4 – What if I fail?
Did you know that a fear of failure is essentially a fear of shame? Sometimes this unconscious fear of failure is so great it prevents us from even trying to succeed – we ultimately fail just by avoiding trying!
Start by owning the fear and share with your boss or colleague that you are afraid of failing. They may offer you additional support, training or guidance. Besides, they can give you much-needed perspective to help put those fears to bed.
Which parts of the task are in your control? Which parts aren't? What can you do about those to manage the impact they have on the ultimate success of the task?
By owning the fear and controlling the task, your self-belief will skyrocket, and you'll be ready to give the challenge a red-hot go!
Insecurity #5 – I am a dinosaur?
If you’re the only person in your office eligible for a senior discount when dining or shopping, it’s easy to focus on your age. And, in a time of video blogs, shameless social media self-promotion and digital natives, it can be hard not to feel you are living in prehistoric times.
Turn this common source of insecurity on its head and remind yourself that you bring a lot of life experience to the company. If you can leverage this experience with your Millenial counterparts, you’ll be a formidable team! You may even learn a thing or two as well!
You might not have your own Instagram account, but you’ll have valuable years of experience - whether spent on the tools, in leadership, management and on projects. Many of the same success factors still apply, which means your experience will be highly valued.
The bottom line on workplace insecurities
It’s time to take action to manage those workplace insecurities so you can really shine! Confidence can get you far at work, so take a closer look at the root of your self-doubt. You may be surprised by how much of a difference it makes to overcome your workplace insecurities.
At Trojan Recruitment Group, we see confident and happy employees building confidence in new ways every day. If you would like to create a dream team, contact a recruitment agency like Trojan Recruitment Group and get advice from the experts in labour-hire, permanent and contract staff.