It goes without saying that if you are a leader… you will have followers. The size and scope of your leadership role will to some extent be determined by how well you engage others, and the performance of those others will have a direct impact on your ability to achieve the outcomes you want.
Based on some research I carried out a few years ago, here are five things you can actively do to build confidence in your team, or in individuals who work for you.
1. Other people’s negativity is known to drain energy and confidence. Be a positive influence in your environment. Display optimism and hopefulness in your team, be an encourager and demonstrate faith in their ability to deliver what you require. If this is challenging because you don’t have faith in them… then it’s time for you to start coaching them, and to consider how you can more effectively influence and enhance their performance.
2. Excessive Challenge diminishes confidence if that challenge is not met. Be aware that you are the leader and if they were able to meet all of the challenges that you can, you may not be! Ensure that the challenges you set for the team are Stretching but not so stretching that you have everyone in the panic zone where nobody is performing well. The best performance happens when people are being stretched and can still benefit from a sense of achievement rather than a fear of failure.
3. An unrealistic workload will over time wear down the most confident person, where the only reward for completing a task becomes the arrival of the next deadline. Over time this will end in burn out or stress which will eventually have health consequences and performance consequences. Help your team and your colleagues get clear about their priorities, by being crystal clear about your own, and communicating them well.
4. Lack of Control can be a confidence stealer. Let people have clear boundaries, and the ability as far as possible to control their own destiny. Work towards your delegation to your key team being delegation of task and responsibility. This too will require you to be clear about expectations and in particular expected outcomes, and to convey this clearly.
5.Lack of Feedback generally speaking means that people default to assuming the feedback would be negative if it were given. Ensure that your staff are not left wondering what you think about the significant contributions they make. Positive affirming feedback appropriately and sincerely given is one of the quickest ways to build confidence. Take every opportunity to give affirming feedback to those that work for you.
So, if people are not demonstrating confidence around you, take a look at yourself and start building confidence in your team with intention. The results will be well worth the effort.