The training and development team is at the core of any business’ success perhaps now more than ever, with a tight labor market. As a new generation aims to make up the majority of the workplace, Millennials and Gen-Z-ers have repeatedly reported that career growth and development opportunities are top priorities. Companies cannot afford to undervalue employee development, especially if organizations are looking to build and retain and high-performing workforce.

As training and development leaders, it’s our mission to ensure employees are granted access to these valuable training opportunities so that our companies can standout and lead with best-in-class talent.

Confidence is Required

Whether or not someone serves in an executive or managerial capacity, strong job performance begins with confidence. Much of our confidence has been framed as something innate, where some people have it and some people don’t.

However, in my experience with personal and professional development, many competencies can be taught — including confidence. The good news is that confidence can be learned and practiced; it’s critical for learning and development (L&D) leaders to be confident in their roles so that they can act as trusted business partners.

Here are five ways to become more confident as a learning leader in your organization:

1. Ask Questions

Some of the most capable leaders ask the best questions. If you have any uncertainty within the functionality of your job role, ask questions. Whether you’re new on the job or not, not having all of the necessary information you need to perform can breed insecurity. When something arises that is unclear, practice confidence by asking questions until you understand the task at hand and have the confidence to move forward.

2. Tap Into Your Hidden Credentials

Inner confidence begins at the intersection of intrinsic and extrinsic components. To address the intrinsic component, you must tap into your hidden credentials. In my book, “The DifferenceMaker Leader,” I define hidden credentials as the qualities that we innately possess and develop that bridge the gap between our weaknesses and our strengths. Your uniqueness is priceless; no matter how obvious or mundane it may seem to you, your skill set is uniquely special. Many people focus solely on their lack (of skills, competencies, etc.) and disregard their abundance. Identifying your hidden credentials helps you realize your areas of being abundantly fruitful. Furthermore, the extrinsic component is predicated upon our environment. We can’t always control who our bosses or colleagues are, but we usually can control who we spend most of our time around. Simply put, we must ask ourselves, “Who is in our circle?” Are the people in our inner circle optimistic in nature or do they adopt a pessimistic and negative view? Being around a consistently positive and uplifting group of people, coupled with tapping into ones hidden credentials, can help build your confidence.

3. Solicit Feedback

In the workplace, finding supportive allies can be advantageous and help increase your confidence. Once you’ve found those whose opinions you value, have a straightforward conversation with them about your professional struggles and goals. Enlist them to help on your journey to be more confident by providing you with accurate, conclusive feedback on meetings you lead or projects they work with you on — anything that is forward-facing. Having a supportive ally at work can help bolster your own positive self-talk, which can produce a level of assuredness.

4. Believe in Yourself

What we become is often a result of who we think we are. When we talk about confidence, we often hear “fake-it-till’-you-make-it,” but I believe our words and thoughts have power.

With that in mind, adopt a strong belief in who you are and how you show up in your role as a L&D leader. Don’t run the risk of “faking” it. Everyone is unique and special. Consider the fact that there are 7.9 billion people living on this planet and no one has the same fingerprint. This fact indicates that your experiences, skill set and makeup are enough for you to fulfill your destiny. So, own who you are and be confident in your career journey.

5. Accumulate More Knowledge

Strive to improve, refine and master your skills. One way to do this is to accumulate more knowledge. Knowledge can be heightened from your experiences, but also by the information you are feeding your brain daily. Seek resources such as books, articles and instructional videos to heighten your conceptual inventory. Knowledge can impact your aptitude and your aptitude can impact your confidence.

Just like any new habit, confidence isn’t learned overnight. It takes practice and patience. Low confidence can be rooted in so many different places from new job placement to childhood trauma to lack of representation in the company; it can be difficult to present yourself fully at work.

By implementing the strategies outlined above, you will find that your confidence has increased until you, yourself, are ready to lead a course on confidence in the workplace.

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