By Kent Mulkey
It is a quite common occurrence. Many of us shy away from speaking up with confidence at work, even when we believe we have something important to say. A lack of confidence holds many of us back from the success and respect we could otherwise enjoy.
Recently I talked with a former colleague, one of the very top senior living sales counselors with whom I have worked. She felt she deserved a markedly higher pay for accomplishments over the past four years in her community.
But she lacked the confidence to ask for more. When she laid out for me what she was paid and how her compensation was structured, I was appalled. Certainly, she deserved more. A lot more.
After four years on the job as a sales director at a 300-apartment campus in a major market, her base pay was still about 25% less than what new hires in the area were being offered. Over the course of four years (minus one year when they were not moving people in due to COVID), she generated an average of eight move-ins per month, close to $30 million dollars in gross revenue and approximately $12 million in net income.
Strategies to Gain More Confidence at Work
Yet she lacked confidence in asking to be paid commensurate with both her success and what the overall market was paying. Confidence is not an innate, fixed trait. It can be learned. Chances are, people like my colleague will get the raises and promotions they deserve with a greater sense of confidence.
Here are a few simple strategies to help you gain more confidence at work.
Focus on Your Strengths
We all have strengths and talents, but so often we tend to focus on our shortcomings rather than areas where we excel. Try making a list of your strengths and achievements. Talking with my friend the other day helped her to talk more openly about her successes, because I have known her for years and was able to help draw them out of her.
Find a Mentor
Find people at work that you would like to emulate. My colleague is great at finding people to know and learn from. She regularly has coffee with others in the senior living arena. She wants to learn all she can! Surround yourself with people who believe in you and will focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Build Your Skills
Take a class or attend professional training. Your employer is simply not going to fill all the gaps in your knowledge base and skills. Developing into a competent professional is up to you. Enjoy watching your confidence elevate.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Be patient. Change takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. On the phone with my colleague, the two of us practiced what she wants to say to her boss and the owner of the company about her worth and the raise she is asking for.
This is a huge step outside her comfort zone, and I predict she will ask for exactly what she is worth and will get it!
Cheer her on. Cheer on others. Cheer on yourself.