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How confident do you feel at work? Dips in confidence can happen when you start your career or take on a senior position. You can read how I handle them in my book, Overcoming Imposter Syndrome. People get in touch with us about it all the time.
Grace Killelea’s book, The Confidence Effect, also discusses confidence and how to build your personal presence at work. It is a guide on how to feel more confident at your job, and Killelea uses stories to illustrate her points.
Combining Confidence and Competence
The book’s first major point was that just being good at your job doesn’t make you a great person. This is something I have been telling myself for a while, as well as other women, this. Killelea writes, “Being competent but not confident is like working alone at night.” “You might be able get your work done, but who would?
The book is devoted to helping you feel comfortable sharing your successes and encouraging others to do the same. Having gravitas is an important part of communicating your message and making an impact.
Grab Some Gravitas
Gravitas has been something I have had the need to do, especially when younger. One manager told me once that I should wear clothes that make me look older in order to develop them. He suggested a twinset of pearls and a twinset. Although I didn’t follow his specific advice on outfits, I understand what he meant.
Killelea defines gravitas as “the presence that we feel deep down within…the sense of weight, and ‘grit,’ deep in our guts.” Later, she quotes someone who associates grit and resilience. Gravitas and resilience, to me, are two different things. Both are difficult concepts to define. I see gravitas as something that other people see in me, and resilience is something that I know I have that helps me bounce back after a setback.
The power of relationships
Relationships are key to a successful career, if you didn’t know. Killelea says it this way:
“[R]elationships strengthen you network, and in turn strengthen your organisational brand. All of our workplace behavior reflects on your brand. Your brand is a strong indicator of your confidence, both real and perceived.
Killelea’s 4R’s of Success are relationships. These are the 4 R’s to Success:
Reputation: “How others perceive you has a huge impact on how you are perceived,” she writes.
Results: “Confidence can be like a mirror that we hold up to reflect what we have done; the more we do, the more confident we are,” she said.
Resilience: She writes that resilience is “the ability to bounce back,” (so we can agree).
Relationships are also important: Killelea writes, “Relationships allow us to network in ways that accelerate both our personal growth and career growth.”

All of these are interconnected. Your reputation is built on your credibility and results. Knowing that others in your network are there for you is a sign of resilience. All of it is dependent on relationships.

Perfecting Your Presence
Some parts of the book reviewed subjects I already knew well, like the section on how to dress for the job you want. Killelea shared stories about clients she has worked with who changed their work clothes and were instantly perceived as more professional and leadership-y.
It’s surprising that people need to be told short skirts and revealing tops “make a distracting impression on people from what you want them to think about you.” But, this has never been a good fit.