What does quiet confidence look like in the workplace?

Emily Whitton
By Emily Whitton,
updated on Aug 8, 2023

Person holding a drinking mug whilst leaning against a door looking off into the distance.

Following data from the latest Quarterly Flexible Working Index, we take a look at the role of mental health support in helping employees thrive at work

Quiet confidence is a term that’s been doing the rounds in recent years, but what does it mean to be quietly confident, how does this translate into the workplace, and what is the role of mental health support?

When we think of confidence, we typically think of a loud, outgoing person. In reality, confidence doesn’t equal extroversion, in the same way that being quiet is not akin to shyness. In fact, someone who is quietly confident believes in themselves and their abilities so much so that success is the only outcome for them. Rather than shouting it from the rooftops, a quietly confident person typically keeps themselves to themselves and lets their actions and results do the talking.

What does quiet confidence look like in the workplace?

When it comes to work, quietly confident individuals trust that they can get the job done through an understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses. Recognising quiet confidence in employees may look like:

  • The willingness to express an opinion but accept when this might be wrong.
  • Accepting mistakes in a kind and nurturing way.
  • Actively listening to others so that they feel valued and understood.
  • Asking for help when they feel they need it.
  • Owning decisions and being self-assured.

There are many signs that someone may be quietly confident but a key trait is their ability to recognise their values, understand what they need to thrive and ask for it.

The role of mental health in supporting those who are quietly confident

According to Mental Health First Aid England, at any one time, one in six people of working age experience symptoms of mental ill-health. To add, only 36% of respondents who had experienced depression in the last year said that they had discussed this with their employer.

Whilst mental health is something that is being more openly talked about in the workplace, there’s still a way to go when it comes to understanding how to have these conversations with employees. However, it would seem that many quietly confident people already know exactly what they need…

In the latest Quarterly Flexible Working Index, which analyses job seekers’ priorities, it was found that one in three people are looking for a company that offers mental health support. This is a huge 20% increase since July 2022. This demand is greatest among disabled workers, with 59% expressing a preference to work for such companies.

The benefits of mental health support on employee wellbeing and company performance have long been explored. The Mental Health Foundation notes that addressing wellbeing in the workplace increases productivity by as much as 12%.

Many quietly confident people will be willing to speak up about their mental health when they feel they’re in need of support but, for others, this can feel daunting. If you need a mental health day off work or you want to discuss any reasonable adjustments, it’s important to reach out for help.

How can I ask for mental health support at work?

Firstly, know that you should never feel embarrassed or ashamed to speak about how you’re feeling at work. Here are some steps you can take to approach the conversation:

  • Think about how you’re feeling and the impact it’s having on your ability to do your job.
  • Consider who you feel safe talking to. If you don’t quite feel ready to reach out to your boss, start by chatting with a colleague or someone in the HR department instead.
  • Think about what reasonable adjustments you may find helpful. Could you alter your working hours or have more days working from home, for example? Perhaps you can reprioritise tasks, or delegate tasks to others. It can also be useful to understand the employee benefits and protection you’re legally entitled to.
  • Remember, you don’t have to tell them everything if you don’t want to. Think about how much you’re comfortable sharing.
  • Check in with your trusted person regularly. Whether it’s fortnightly or once a month, setting aside time to catch up with others opens up time to be honest about how you’re feeling in a safe, supportive environment.

Find out more about how to talk about mental health at work on Happiful.

Mental Health First Aid England note that only 38% of HR respondents felt that their line managers were confident enough to have these kinds of conversations with their team members. If you’re a manager, find out how you can support your team’s mental health

Building quiet confidence doesn’t come overnight, but there are steps you can take to help you understand your values and what you need to thrive at work. And if you’re looking for some more support, you can find a confidence coach on Happiful.

Emily Whitton

By Emily Whitton

Emily Whitton is a Content Creator and Marketing Coordinator at Happiful

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