A Gallup study found that employee engagement levels were far higher in those who felt confident in being able to achieve their own work goals. The Gallup poll found that employees, when confident, were 27% less likely to struggle with burnout and 38% less likely to seek a job elsewhere, hence reducing staff turnover.
In other words, helping the employee to build confidence both in terms of their day-to-day tasks and helping them in their career progression aids both the employee and you as the company. It’s a win-win!
Furthermore, we have a duty to do all we can to ensure that employees’ well-being is taken seriously so helping them build confidence is very much the right thing to do from a legal and ethical standpoint.
Help your employees build confidence at work and you can expect to see:
- reduced staff turnover rates (greater staff retention)
- more motivated employees who also become more productive
- a happier workplace and easier staff to manage
- a workplace that others want to join and be a part of
So what can we do to help our employees develop greater confidence at work? Let’s take a look below.
1. Offer Praise and Positive Feedback
You do not have to offer praise when it’s not due but very often there is something that an employee is doing well and deserves some gratitude, thanks, or some positive feedback on.
One of the simplest, easiest, and cost-effective ways to help those we manage feel more confident and happier in their work, is simply to provide words in the form of praise.
Why so many managers and team leaders fail to focus on this positive feedback is perhaps down to the workload that so many of us managers have.
We forget the simple things sometimes but we shouldn’t. We should take time to provide positive feedback.
One-to-one monthly meetings are a particularly good way for us as managers to ensure that we find the time to speak with those we manage and to offer the praise that is due.
2. Help Them Understand Imposter Syndrome
A very common but often overlooked issue in the workplace, when it comes to helping employees, is the feeling many often have in terms of imposter syndrome.
So many of us suffer imposter syndrome in silence at work because we often fail to share our feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness with our superiors and colleagues.
A quite common example of imposter syndrome is when you are promoted and find yourself managing people who have more experience, people who once managed you, and/or people who have been much longer with the company.
What can you do to help? There are several things you can do to help employees with respect to imposter syndrome, as we discussed in the post on how to deal with imposter syndrome, including:
- Doing a presentation on imposter syndrome so that colleagues realize it is quite common and that they can share their own feelings with colleagues or their manager. As a manager, if you have ever felt an imposter, it can be worth sharing your own experience too.
- Making it very clear to colleagues that they are given roles (i.e., a promotion) because they DO have the skills and ARE capable.
- Making it easier for colleagues to open up and share their feelings in their 1-to-1 annual meetings.
3. Work Towards a More Inclusive and Safe Workplace
When employees feel that they are in a psychologically safe work environment, they find it far easier to thrive and be confident in their work and in themselves.
What do we mean by a psychologically safe workplace you might ask?
A psychologically safe work environment is one where everyone feels:
- Able to express themselves openly and without any fear
- Included in the work and among colleagues
- Able to take risks and be innovative in their work without worry of being ridiculed
- Trusted and respected
One of the keys to building an inclusive workplace is to ensure that managers understand what it means to create this type of working environment. Offering managers psychological safety training can be worth considering.
4. Set Clear and Manageable Goals
It is generally much easier for colleagues to be confident when they have a sense of routine and a sense of knowing what they need to achieve in their work.
Provided these goals are realistic and manageable, it helps colleagues gain confidence by having a good chance to meet these goals and to benefit from the sense of achievement this brings with it.
5. Provide Training to Help Career Development
When we talk about career development, there is of course a financial cost to providing training for employees.
For this reason, it is important that any career development for the employee also aligns with your company’s goals.
If practical though, offering training can greatly aid employees’ confidence and this training comes in a few different forms, such as training that:
- directly teaches about confidence-building (see the Confidence Building Training Materials)
- teaches managers how to create a workplace that breeds confident employees (i.e., through emotional intelligence training, psychological safety training, and inclusive leadership training).
- provides help for the employee to develop their career path (so this might be more technical and job-specific skills, or it might be management training)
6. Offer Presentation Skills Training and Guidance
One of the most feared situations by many employees is the idea of having to stand up and present in front of others at work.
The fear of public speaking is very common and yet we so often need to speak in front of colleagues or customers.
As a manager, I highly recommend both taking Presentation Skills training and providing a workshop on Presentation Skills for your team.
With the right training for employees, you can greatly reduce the fear they experience with having to do presentations, and in effect boost their confidence by helping them to present to the best of their ability.
7. Encourage Taking Chances and Taking Autonomy
Encouraging employees to take chances and giving them some responsibility can boost their confidence as it shows them that they are trusted and that their abilities are valued.
Furthermore, having the opportunity to take control of certain tasks tends to increase the employee’s motivation and also greatly aids employee engagement.
In other words, when given the chance to have some responsibility, most employees thrive and feel more connected to the work and company.
8. Be Supportive
We all have to deal with external work issues such as bringing up children, caring for a relative, or health problems, and we inevitably bring these issues to work in some form.
As a manager, it is important that we are supportive of our staff whatever their situation, particularly given that we cannot expect to know all that is going on in their life.
To help employees build confidence, this support is essential, as a foundation on which the employee can develop in the workplace.
You can learn to be more supportive by working on your active listening skills and learning how to be more attentive and compassionate through listening.
9. Lead by Example
What better way to try and help those you manage to be confident than to lead by example, by showing them what a confident person and leader looks like?
10. Cultivate Emotional Intelligence
It is far easier for employees to be confident in a work environment where the employee feels:
- listened to
- able to get constructive feedback
- is supported
- is allowed to use his/her strengths and skills
- in a strong team
In essence, a manager who develops an emotionally intelligent team and work environment provides the above traits and this helps employees to work far more confidently.
As a manager, do consider learning about emotional intelligence and developing an emotionally intelligent work style as a leader.
Case Study Examples and Solutions
Case Study 1: Emily the Marketing Assistant
Emily, a junior marketing assistant, recently led a project to improve the company’s social media strategy. She put in extra hours to research new trends and implemented innovative ideas. However, due to her junior position, she feels uncertain about the effectiveness of her strategies and seeks validation.
Manager’s Approach and Solution
The manager, Vikki, schedules a one-on-one meeting with Emily to discuss the project. During the meeting, Vikki highlights specific aspects of Emily’s strategy that contributed positively to the company’s online engagement. She praises Emily’s creativity, dedication, and the impact her ideas had on increasing user interaction. Vikki emphasizes that her contributions are valued and help the company.
Emily feels validated and recognized for her efforts. Vikki’s positive feedback boosts Emily’s confidence in her skills and encourages her to continue generating innovative ideas for future projects. Emily becomes more proactive in contributing ideas during team meetings and takes on additional responsibilities with enthusiasm.
Case Study 2: Sabina, the Software Developer
Sabina, a software developer, has been working on a complex coding project for several weeks. She encountered a roadblock that required extensive troubleshooting. She managed to find a solution, but she was unsure if her approach was the most efficient or if the quality of her work met the company’s standards.
The manager, Davide, sets up a feedback session with Sabina to review her work. During the meeting, Davide acknowledged the complexity of the task and praised Sabina’s problem-solving skills. He highlighted the sections of code where Sabina’s innovative solutions improved efficiency and functionality. Davide provided constructive feedback on areas for potential improvement but emphasized how Sabina’s contributions positively impacted the project’s progress and the team’s goals.
Sabina felt appreciated and gained confidence in her problem-solving abilities. Davide’s positive reinforcement encouraged Sabina to further refine her skills and seek out more challenging tasks. With increased confidence, Sabina took the initiative to propose optimization strategies for similar later projects.
Case Study 3: Michelle, a Nurse Practioner
Michelle, a nurse practitioner, had been conducting health education sessions for patients but felt uncertain about her communication skills and the effectiveness of her sessions. She worried that her lack of confidence might be impacting the patients’ engagement and understanding.
The manager, Dr. Peters, observed one of Michelle’s education sessions discreetly and later scheduled a private meeting. During the meeting, Dr. Peters acknowledged Michelle’s dedication to patient care and praised her ability to simplify complex medical information. He provided specific examples of instances where Michelle’s sessions positively impacted patient understanding and compliance. Dr. Peters offered support and suggested additional resources to enhance Michelle’s presentation skills.
Michelle felt encouraged and more confident in her abilities to educate patients effectively. Dr. Peters positive feedback helped her realize her strengths and the areas in which she could improve. Michelle actively sought out public speaking workshops and incorporated new communication techniques into her sessions, resulting in increased patient engagement and positive feedback from patients and colleagues alike.
- 15 Business Etiquette Tips - February 15, 2024
- 7 Gratitude Team Building Games Activities for Employees - February 1, 2024
- 10 Gratitude in the Workplace Tips for a Positive Work Environment - January 30, 2024