59% of men report that a lack of self-confidence is holding them back in work (Picture: Getty)
More men than you might think are struggling with their self-confidence at work, with 59% reporting that their lack of confidence is holding them back, according to Vera Clinic.
Now, it is true that women are usually most likely to be underconfident in their careers, with research suggesting that up to 79% of women may be struggling with their self-esteem at work.
But while this is a widely understood and discussed phenomenon (and rightly so), there seems to be little understanding on offer for the huge numbers of men who are in the same boat.
It’s not simply that men may be a little lacking in confidence – we can all struggle with our self-assurance from time to time. But worryingly, in addition to the 59% of men who feel as though their confidence is hindering their progress, Vera Clinic also found that a fifth (20%) actually view themselves to be ‘not confident at all.’
As a result, almost half (45%) of men surveyed admitted to avoiding putting themselves up for opportunities that could help them progress or feel more fulfilled in their working lives, all for fear of not being good enough.
When these fears and feelings of insecurity cause men to hold themselves back and stand in the way of significant career progression, that’s a problem.
The report by Vera Clinic goes on to highlight that the major problems that plague men in the workplace include second-guessing themselves, not feeling as though they are able to speak eloquently, and even impostor syndrome, which is often thought to be a problem faced primarily by women.
Working on your workplace confidence:
- Pay attention to and take note of your strengths and achievements at work
- Remind yourself of your value.
- Reach out to the people in your life for support and advice
- Join or start a support group with other men who are struggling.
Mental health is important, particularly when it comes to work. It’s important to ensure the hours we spend at our jobs are productive and positive.
But working from home is likely to be exacerbating any work-related problems for people of all genders. With most office workers unable to interact with their colleagues as usual or get face-to-face feedback on their work and progress, it’s all too likely that anxieties that may otherwise lay dormant will come to the fore.
And, while prior to the coronavirus crisis people were able to leave their workday worries behind for a while by getting out, interacting with friends and varying their out-of-work life, most options for decompressing from the stresses of the day-to-day have been massively restricted.
So what can those men who are quietly struggling with their self-esteem do to lift themselves up at a time like this?
Well, while a lot of the resources such as online articles and toolboxes are geared towards empowering underconfident women, more targeted support is gradually becoming available to men, too.
As psychiatrist Neel Burton explains, a good place to start is by making two lists: ‘one of your strengths and one of your achievements.’
Of course, if you struggle with your confidence, chances are that you might not find making these two lists all that easy. So Neel suggests getting a supportive friend, relative or co-worker to lend a hand.
This will encourage you to acknowledge any assets that you tend to overlook during a hectic working day.
Neel also recommends reading through both of the lists each morning to help you work on your confidence. In doing so, you can remind yourself of everything you have to bring to the working day ahead.
He says: ‘Remind yourself that, despite your problems, you are unique, special, a valuable person, and that you deserve to feel good about yourself.’
If your self-confidence needs more of a boost than that, then it’s probably a good idea to open up to the people around you, ‘to tell them what you are going through and ask for their advice and support,’ Neel explains.
‘Perhaps they too have similar problems, in which case you might be able to form a support group,’ he continues.
It’s important to remember that there’s no need to feel shy or reserved when reaching out. Conversations around men’s mental health are on the increase, and most people will want to help, especially those closest to you.
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