Is Self-Confidence Needed for Job Success?

Will recruiting people with self-confidence contribute to high performance?


We respond positively to someone who appears self-confident. It is easy to put our trust in them. When we are around self-confident people our confidence in own ability is heightened. A person with moderate to good levels of self-confidence can create a can-do attitude in their team, peers and managers. It is contagious. You find yourself wanting to work with someone with this level of self-confidence.

People with moderate to good levels of self-confidence are typically open and honest about themselves. They are realistic about themselves and others. They are open about their flaws as well as their strengths. As they work to improve themselves they will often share insights into their self-improvement journey.

Self-confident people also tend to be resilient. Relationships are dependable and predicable when a person is comfortable with them self. Others feel comfortable being around them – they tend to be more approachable and are able to build good relationships with a variety of people.

When we meet people with just the right level of self-confidence we want to work with them. We feel inspired, motivated and valued.

When Self-Confidence is Too Much

But when a self-confident person also lacks the desire to grow and improve, others see them as defensive, egotistical, arrogant and complacent. This is so even at moderate levels of self-confidence. They appear to lack motivation. Their attitude is “I am Ok and I don’t need to improve.” Because ego is involved, they can focus on “Who’s right?” not “What’s right?”

Also, high to extremely high levels of self-confidence has a negative impact on others – others can see them as cocky, self-important and egotistical.

In either case, relationships are damaged. Team members and peers feel devalued, unsupported and unempowered. Engagement and commitment will suffer, and turnover will increase.

When Self-Confidence is Too Low

Conversely, those who have lower self-confidence tend to be critical of themselves and others. “I could have/should have done it better, faster, different.” “You could have done better.”

It can suck the joy out of learning and achieving. Both can become a chore. The high standards and the regular criticism distracts team members and peers. Procrastination becomes routine because the standards seem impossibly high. “Well if nothing I do is good enough, why on earth am I knocking myself out to do this?” In the extreme, it can be difficult for the person with low self-confidence to accept the humanness of others.

Engineer Your Team for High Performance

Self-confidence is one of the traits that can add value to a leadership team. I recommend two strategies for this particular behavioural trait:

  1. When recruiting, screen for excessively high and low levels of self-confidence – we use Harrison Assessments which makes this very easy. Contact us to find out how.
  2. Coach current team members to either:
    • accept feedback, learn to ask for it, and take on assignments where they will be stretched and grow,
    • or, for team members with low self-confidence: celebrate the journey of achievement, recognise the strengths of themselves and others, and be realistic about improvement efforts, standards and benchmarks. We have experienced excellent results using the Appreciative Inquiry method in similar coaching programs.

Ganga Harvey consults and coaches in the areas of Leadership, Strategic Management and Change Management and has guided many organisations to significantly higher levels of performance.She is a Solutions Partner with Harrison Assessments, providing deep insights into your organisation.


Photo by bady qb on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

After you have typed in some text, hit ENTER to start searching...