Confidence is the secret ingredient to nearly everything we do. Without confidence, we wouldn't be able to make big presentations, ask for the salary raise, or stand up for an unpopular decision. You may have the skills and experience, but confidence and inspiration is what actually gets us to start taking action.

Confidence is also what helps us gain respect among coworkers, as well as a sense of agency in how we operate in the workplace. When we possess a healthy level of confidence, we don't feel threatened by or unsure about our position in the workplace, the people around us, or our ability to do the work.

But what happens when we don't have confidence? We let the negative mental chatter take control. And this leads us to overcompensating with behaviors that we may perceive as showing confidence but actually illustrate a lack of it.

Here are 5 cringe-worthy behaviors that signal lack of confidence:

1. Name calling

Ad hominem attacks like name calling are the verbal equivalent of a low blow. While name calling can offer a feeling of instant gratification, in the long run this behavior is not rewarding--personally and professionally.

People who name call demonstrate that they are not addressing the real issues at hand. Out of frustration, they are resorting to a tactic to make others feel bad, so they can feel good. Name callers, take note: you may feel like a smooth talker, but you'll have much more rewarding and confidence-building relationships if you approach others with respect.



2. Snobbery

Snobs believe in a hierarchy of superiority, acting as though their tastes and interests are better than those they feel are inferior. Snobbery is an indication that one has a superficial idea of success. This means they are not quite assured in who they are, what strengths they have, and their own metrics of success. Because they reject things they feel are below them, snobs aren't the "all-hands-on-deck" type.

If you feel you might have a bit of snobbish behavior, focus on acknowledging the inherent value in each task and person on your team. Remember, nothing great happens without the help and support of others.



3. Giving excuses

Another major sign of lack of confidence is giving excuses--constantly explaining away why something didn't quite work out perfectly. People who rely on excuses to justify their work seek to push the blame off themselves. This is definitely a sign that something is off: they are intentionally putting themselves in positions that make them appear powerless. This is not good for your self-perception as well as the perception others have of you. When you are faced with limitations, focus not on what you can't do, but what you can.

4. Lack of generosity

Lack of generosity signals that someone is in "scarce mode"--they are not confident that there is enough talent, recognition, success, or room at the top for everyone, therefore they must hoard it for themselves. Lack of generosity can show up in passing comments, failure to acknowledge others' work, inaction on projects, and a constant vigilance for something more.

Remember that having a giver's mentality will open yourself up to new opportunities to build relationships, engage in new types of work, and be seen as someone who is a team player and is committed to the organization. No one wants to reward someone they don't think will ever give back.



5. Judgmental Behavior

When we engage in judgmental behavior, we tend to focus on the negative and lend a sense of unworthiness to the person or thing that we are judging. This behavior is simply not helpful in the workplace because it is not focused on mutual respect and progress.

A confident person not only understands their strengths and weaknesses but is also able to articulate them well and engage in constructive--not judgmental--conversation.