Toughen up: Tell-tale sign you’re being too soft!

Have you ever considered that you might be too soft in the workplace? Recognising the warning signs can make you more effective in your role.

Demonstrating behaviour that signals you may have the authority but not the confidence to make key decisions can lead to a continual below-par performance.

© Motortion Films /

There are several tell-tale signs of being too soft. Displaying any of them can impair the effectiveness of your leadership.

Why is confidence important in the workplace?

Working in an environment where confidence flourishes is linked to success in the workplace. It increases performance and employee engagement.

An international survey of professional people revealed 93% of respondents believed confidence in the workplace was a crucial to success. It boosts communication skills and enables employees to comfortably express their opinions and thoughts.

Being in a position of authority at work requires the confidence to work constructively, solve issues and make key decisions.

Undermining authority at work

A consequence of being too soft is finding that your authority is continually undermined.

Being accommodating and kind are desirable qualities but if you’re perceived as soft, colleagues may take advantage of your good nature. Learning how to gain confidence in the workplace is an integral part of your management skills.

Controlling emotions and not letting them interfere with your confidence is one of the first rules of business. Building self-confidence and not allowing employees to think you’re a pushover is something you can learn as part of your journey.

First, you need to recognise the telltale signs of being too soft!

1. Avoiding taking a stance on issues

A leader’s role is to resolve conflicts among members of the team. You must take the appropriate action, even if all parties aren’t pleased by your decision.

For example, you’re walking towards business meeting rooms where you’ve organised a gathering to update the team on a project. Then, you spot two attendees having a heated discussion in the corridor. They seem angry with each other. What do you do?

While you should stop to find out what’s happening, simply listening without intervening is a sign you’re too soft. As a manager, it’s your job to make a final decision on any disputes within the team.

Should you fail to speak out because you’re worried about offending one person by agreeing with the other, this is a sign you’re being too soft. Taking this passive role means you’ve annoyed both delegates, as you haven’t resolved the conflict.

By asserting your authority and making the right decision, you can end the discord. If you upset one person in doing so, that is their problem and not yours.

You must make the best business-based decisions, even if they are not popular, without letting emotions get in the way.

2. Putting off adopting good business practices

When you’re a project manager, it’s your job to drive good business practices. If you complain to colleagues that the hierarchy of your company isn’t doing enough to improve the way you work, do something about it.

Merely saying privately that you’re not happy with how things are going is adopting a passive role. Instead, you should be facing up to your responsibilities and putting forward your views to the relevant people who can make the necessary changes.

3. Delaying making key decisions

Making decisions is a crucial part of your role, even if they are tough ones. When you excessively delay or avoid making key decisions because you’re worried about how employees will react, this is an example of being too soft.

Colleagues will feel dissatisfied because the decision-making process is too slow, while projects are delayed, which can damage the business.

Make decisions promptly. If you’re causing delays, you’ve become part of the problem.

4. Needing the personal approval of others

You’re too soft if you need the personal approval of colleagues to carry out your day-to-day duties.

If their reactions to your decisions make you feel inadequate, this can have a negative impact on your work. Never give that sort of power to someone else.

Don’t let emotions get in the way of doing your job. What others think of you shouldn’t be more important than how you feel about yourself and your abilities.

How do you stop being so soft?

A useful tip is to recognise your own strengths. Try making a list of your achievements so far, as this will remind you of your skills and abilities.

If you’re continually critical of yourself, calm your feelings of anxiety by imagining what you would say to a work colleague or friend who was in this situation.

Maybe you fear that you’ll be seen as insensitive, arrogant or a bully if you stop being soft? Just remind yourself that you’re a decent, good person – there’s a big difference between being confident and being abrasive.

Being soft won’t earn respect and win friends at work. On the contrary, if you’re continually letting people walk all over you, this will lose the respect of colleagues. It will have a negative impact on your projects and personal wellbeing, leading to your career becoming stagnant and possibly in a rut.

Control your emotions and don’t let your personal feelings and doubts interfere with your conduct at work.

Meeting room hire in London

Many companies host training sessions to improve confidence skills at work, helping employees at all levels to understand the impact this has in the workplace. A confidence building training course can help provide you with the tools to change your behaviour.

Improve company culture and bond with your team by booking a meeting room in London to learn about the importance of being confident at work and practice exercises to change negative behaviours.

Rather than being more concerned about the way other people feel about you, instead focus on the impact you can have on them.

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