As a team leader, you likely realize that some employees can hit the ground running with an innate sense of confidence. They understand their own strengths and feel entirely able to apply them in pursuit of a goal.
That doesn’t mean every team member shares this degree of confidence. There are instances when employees don’t realize their full potential because they don’t recognize it in themselves.
This doesn’t have to be the case. You can help all your team members to develop confidence. Doing so will result in a team that works productively and efficiently.
To enable your employees to feel confident in their abilities, you should keep the following tips in mind:
Acknowledge Their Contributions
This is one of the simplest ways to boost employees’ confidence and one of the most effective. Simply acknowledging when individual employees contribute to a team’s overall success will signal to them that you believe in their skills and potential. Additionally, research indicates that acknowledging the efforts of your employees has a positive impact on engagement. This in turn will yield greater productivity and prevent turnover.
That said, it’s important to be specific when recognizing employees’ contributions. General praise will be less likely to boost employees’ confidence than that which genuinely highlights the specific manner in which they have demonstrated their strengths. In other words, it’s important for you to describe the accomplishment when giving praise.
Provide the Right Tools and Clearly Outline Goals
It’s worth noting that even strong performers can struggle with low confidence if they don’t have everything that they need to perform to the best of their ability. An otherwise talented employee may nevertheless feel that they aren’t contributing enough if they don’t know whether they’re actually making progress towards a goal. They are also likely to feel this way if they don’t have access to the resources and tools they need to be as productive as they could be.
You should ensure that your employees have everything they need to achieve their potential. That includes making sure that they thoroughly understand what the organization’s goals are. If employees clearly know what the long-term vision is, then their confidence will naturally rise.
You need to strike a delicate balance as a team leader. Obviously, you don’t want to assign tasks that your employees are not equipped to handle just yet. People’s confidence will certainly diminish if they struggle with a responsibility or project. On the other hand, if you only assign easy tasks to them, then their fellow team members will suspect that you’re doing so because you lack confidence in their abilities.
You should pay attention to the strengths that your team members develop as they work with you. Although it will take some time to naturally understand when a task is too challenging for an employee, your goal should be to eventually reach a point where you can ideally provide your employees with challenging work. Tasks that are somewhat intimidating, but ultimately appropriate for an employee’s skill level, will yield a major boost in confidence when employees successfully complete them.
This is a basic psychological principle. Child development researchers often encourage parents to allow their children to play as often as possible during the early years of their lives. This is because play involves achieving goals while being limited by certain restrictions, such as the rules of a game. When children realize that they can achieve specific goals when they put in the effort, their confidence will naturally blossom.
The same principle applies to employees. Those who can clearly see, through firsthand experience, that they are skilled enough to thrive will be more likely to do so in the future.
Offer Professional Development Opportunities
Again, praising team members when they achieve important goals will help to boost overall engagement. Another way to boost engagement is to provide employees with the opportunity to develop their skills and grow. Surveys routinely indicate that ambitious employees are far more engaged in their roles where they are given opportunities to learn.
This can also have a positive impact on confidence. After all, confidence is a natural reaction to one’s inherent abilities. A person is more likely to be confident if they possess a range of skills and strengths. You can provide your employees with regular opportunities to develop their skills and confidence. These opportunities may come in the form of training sessions, side projects, mentorship opportunities, and other methods through which they can grow. Of course, if your employees have additional skills, then you can rely on them in other capacities and assigning tasks to them that you might not have otherwise.
Don’t overlook the value of employee confidence. When team members are confident, they are productive and motivated. That’s key to both their success and that of the team itself.