Understanding the Fine Balance between Confidence and Cockiness

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On numerous occasions, I have been told that my self-confidence helps me in interviews, face-to-face meetings, and at networking events. I have to admit that I have always been fairly confident and have always had good interpersonal communication skills – two things that led me to seek careers in public relations and teaching. At a young age, I became involved in theater and vocal performance. I think these activities allowed me to become confident without being full of myself (initially because it wouldn’t be tolerated by my parents, but more recently it was initiated by my own self-awareness.) I realized that if others recognize my work and deem me to be competent, I don't have to add anything to the conversation. Your work ethic should speak for itself.


A mistake that I see often is when individuals think they are so vital to an organization or a group that nothing else matters. Even if you are great at your job, over-confidence will turn into cockiness. It’s been my experience that people gravitate toward confidence, and speak ill of those who behave as though they are more skilled than others.


So how do you become a wonderfully confident worker without losing your way? I always recommend that one reads biographies of successful CEOs or world leaders. In particular, seek out people who you see as having ‘ideal’ character traits successful for your career. For example, if you’re a woman in a male-dominated industry, seek out women who have made great strides and differentiated themselves from the pack.


Additionally, I feel that this article added some more insight on this topic if you are interested. If you are concerned with how you come across at work, ask a trusted peer or mentor for constructive criticism. A good tactic is to try to emulate those in your company or line of work that seem not only well-liked, but respected. At meetings, take notes of how people act and interact. Most importantly, trust your gut! If you think you have become over-confident at work, you most likely have. Offer to help co-workers without wanting recognition in return. In most cases, showing you can collaborate gracefully will go a long way.


Have you experienced over-confidence at work? Tell me your story in the comments section.


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