The best leaders know how to get the most out of their employees, whatever their strengths and weaknesses. But employees who lack confidence create a very specific challenge.
An employee who lacks confidence is unlikely to be working to the best of their ability. Plagued by self-doubt and questioning their skills, they don’t always have the confidence necessary to push themselves (and the business) forward.
So how to give an under-confident employee the boost they need to be happier and more productive at work? Here are five ways you can help:
Don’t expect your employees to find certain tasks easy, just because you do.
For instance, when we’re talking about employees of the millennial generation and younger, these guys have grown up with online communication. Picking up a phone to make a business call can feel quite daunting to them and they’re likely to lack confidence in this area.
Try to discover the areas in which your employees could use a little more support. Then set up some personal mentoring or an appropriate training course.
If there’s a specific area of their job in which they lack confidence, learning new skills or just some industry info could give your employees the self-esteem boost they need to work more effectively.
If you don’t give your employees proper recognition for the work they do, they might doubt their abilities and their confidence will suffer.
Give regular feedback, in both formal and informal capacities. Praise your employees for a job well done. And don’t wait till the end of a long project. Show your appreciation at mini milestones too.
It can also help to be specific in your praise. A generic phrase like “good job” rarely sinks well, especially with someone who lacks confidence. Think of specific instances when your employee demonstrated their business aplomb or personal skill and incorporate an example into your praise.
Employees who feel that they are valued and performing well in their job will grow in confidence.
For an employee who lacks confidence, being given a vague task can be hugely daunting. When you’re delegating, be specific in your requirements. Give detailed instructions, examples and a definite deadline.
If it’s a particularly long task or project, you might also want to schedule progress meetings. Treat these meetings as a collaboration rather than an inspection of work to date. It’s a time to share ideas and decide together on the best path forward.
With the right information to work with and feeling that they have your support, your employees will be more confident at tackling the task at hand.
Under-confident employees won’t thrive in a company culture where they’re expected to fly by the seat of their pants. Calling a last minute meeting and expecting them to offer up some great ideas is probably unrealistic.
Giving them a little warning is the best approach. This gives your employees chance to prepare, which means they’re much more likely to engage in group situations and have the confidence to speak up.
Having a positive experience in situations like this will encourage them to contribute more effectively on future occasions too.
Nothing gives an employee a confidence boost like training a new member of the team.
In teaching someone everything they know about a role, your employee will get to realise how much they really do know themselves. Just give your employee the tools and time they need to prepare.
Giving them this responsibility will show them that you believe in their abilities. And it will hopefully help them to believe in those abilities too.
Helping your employees grow in confidence can be truly rewarding for a business leader. Not only do you see improvements for the business. You also get to see your employees growing as people and becoming more accomplished in their jobs.
By locating areas of particular under-confidence, offering praise, providing adequate support and giving employees the opportunity to prove their knowledge (both to you and themselves), you will help your employees to gain the confidence they need to succeed.
About the author:
Audrey Robinson is an experienced team leader and customer care manager, currently supporting Maxo – telecommunication experts. Working with a variety of teams across many projects has given Audrey insight into the importance of leadership, cooperation, and knowledge sharing – the insight which she now shares with others.