Have you ever observed this: While you are busy doing a good job at your workplace, others seem to be advancing much faster in their careers. But why?
What happens is that in many cases, your contributions are not being seen and recognised. One reason this may happen is that people are simply not great at assessing competence - a crucial trait for succeeding at work, and perceptions of competence are just as important for success as actual competence.
But do the results not mostly speak for themselves? They do not, even when it is all about numbers. Consider a salesman: although his sales may rise, it could have also risen without his effort due to the superior quality of the product or marketing effort that finally bore fruit. If sales go down, it could have been the result of increasing competition.
It is often difficult to disentangle the actual drivers of performance, including how much luck and difficulty were involved. Because of this, people tend to evaluate competence based on other factors. This may mean that you have to do more than produce results to convince them of your expertise. One way to do this is by demonstrating confidence in your abilities.
According to recent research by Harvard Business Review, it has been found that projecting confidence leads to positive effects, but only when it is non-comparative. In other words, being competent is fine as long as you do not claim that others are incompetent.
People tend to think that being confident equals to being competent, even when the individual's performance may suggest otherwise. One explanation to support this theory is that we have a tendency to believe what we are told and we confirm our beliefs by selecting information that supports our theory.
While it is unwise to project fake confidence when you know you will not perform well, being too modest would not serve you well either. As many workspace psychological studies over the years have suggested, people tend to penalise humble actors by deciding against them and choosing the "confident" ones.
To convince others of your abilities, you should make it a habit to communicate that you are good at what you do without any self-deprecation regarding your core competencies.
However, this does not always come easy. To demonstrate authentic confidence, you will first have to convince yourself. Ask yourself: What am I good at? What was my greatest success so far? Why should others be led by me? What do I know that they do not?
If you have a hard time answering these questions, you have a problem - how can you convince others of your expertise if you are not convinced yourself?
If you want to ensure that your achievements are recognised, assess how your manager and colleagues perceive you and your abilities. Do you think they have a good sense of your competence and expertise? If not, could you be demonstrating more confidence in your tasks?
This does not necessarily mean praising yourself at every opportunity. It rather means to project an optimistic attitude even in dire situations by providing operable solutions. By displaying more confidence in your abilities, you set yourself up to be recognised for your competence and your contributions.