Confident Employees Are Motivated Employees: How to Help Your Employees Build Their Self-Confidence
When you feel confident about something, it shows. You act without fear, have a little extra spring in your step, and an eagerness to show what you’re capable of. When you aren’t so confident? You hesitate, unsure of how to proceed, and look for reassurance that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do – and doing it “right.” You probably don’t take as many chances either, sticking to what you know is safe instead.
Everyone experiences a lack of confidence at times. It’s normal. But when your team consistently lacks confidence in its abilities, productivity and creativity are going to suffer. That’s not to say that confidence is the defining factor in motivation and performance – there are plenty of confident people who are lazy – but when your team knows that it has the capabilities to accomplish a goal, and knows that you believe in those capabilities, they are more likely to succeed.
As a leader, then, one of your primary tasks is to help your employees feel more self-confident. Nothing undermines a team faster than a leader who outwardly demonstrates a lack of faith in them, so give your timid employees a shot in the arm with some of these techniques.
1. Provide Detailed Instructions
We’ve all been faced with tasks that we think we know how to do, but we aren’t totally sure about. Usually, these tasks end up taking longer than they should because we are afraid of making mistakes, or we have to seek more clarification while we’re working, which slows down the process.
When giving someone a new task, be as specific as possible about how they should go about completing it, your expectations for the finished product, and where they can find more information. For example, when you ask someone to complete a budget for a new project, and they haven’t done a budget before, tell them where they can find spreadsheets and information, who they can turn to for additional information, and the format you’d like the budget presented in. By removing the guesswork, you help your employee feel more confident about the work she’s doing.
2. Support Education
Perhaps nothing improves confidence as much as education. Supporting your employees’ efforts to increase their knowledge and skills, whether via a formal continuing education program, attending seminars, or simply giving them access to self-guided training materials, sends the message that you want them to succeed, and that you’ll help them reach their goals. And of course, you reap the benefits of a more educated and skilled workforce.
3. Offer Compliments
Everyone loves to hear that they are good at something, or they have done something well. Tell someone why you’re assigning a specific task to them, i.e., “Sandy, you’re great at communicating with our clients, so I’d like you to draft the letter about this change.” Delivering feedback about performance on a regular basis, and highlighting what the employee did right or well in addition to providing constructive feedback can help keep them motivated, both to improve and to keep doing what they do well.
4. Provide Formal Rewards and Recognition
It’s been said that people who feel appreciated will always do more than what is expected, so it’s important that you recognize and reward your employees for a job well done. Recognition doesn’t even have to be a major event, either. Recognizing incremental achievements and improvements is also a valid means of boosting confidence. Simply saying thank you, or praising a job well done, can help employees feel more confident and improve their performance.
5. Be Respectful
Finally, how well you treat your employees can have a direct effect on their confidence. Micromanaging their work, constantly criticizing or nitpicking, interrupting, and not listening to feedback all send the message that you do not trust or value their input, which can in turn cause their self-confidence to take a hit. Unless you have a specific reason to be concerned, trust that your employees are capable of doing the jobs they were hired for, and give them autonomy and control over their work. They will not only be more confident, but also more motivated to perform.
Self-confidence is a key factor in life, and in particular, career success. By fostering confidence in your team, you’ll not only have a more motivated and successful business, but be considered a better leader as well.