Building employee self-confidence


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A recent Dale Carnegie study found that, “Confidence is the emotion that empowered employees value most highly.” When employees are self-confident, they perform at a higher level, show better engagement, and are more creative. But confidence is a skill that many people need to work on, even more so after the shocks of the pandemic.

Like self-awareness, self-confidence is one of those game changing competencies. Having a greater belief in yourself and abilities completely changes what you can see yourself achieving.

I remember in my late 20’s finally heading overseas for my “OE”. This was a 6 week see the world” every day planned tour of the UK and Europe.

I remember watching in amazement as several of our group left the Contiki tour in Paris before the bus returned to London.

Where would they go? I wondered. Ten years later after quite a lot of professional development my wife and I arrived in Bangkok with nothing planned but one night accommodation and a 12month round the world ticket. Nothing was a problem anymore. So why do we lack confidence?

Reasons employees may not be confident at work

  • Lack of Job-Specific Knowledge & Training Opportunities
    According to a 2018 study, 32% of workers felt underqualified for their current role in the previous year. As time has progressed and work has become remote, hybrid, and filled with AI, workers feel even more unprepared to fulfil their job requirements, and 45% of employees say their work doesn’t provide enough job support training and skill development opportunities. Lack of self-confidence stems from not knowing what you’re doing.
  • Poor Management Style
    Unfortunately, managers and bosses have a significant impact on employee confidence. A boss who lacks empathy may be unintentionally harsh to an employee about a mistake or when giving constructive feedback. Managers also might fall into micromanaging, taking decision-making power out of the hands of the worker. This can cause confidence in the workplace to decline significantly.
  • Company Disarray
    The company’s culture, policies, mission, and future are all important considerations. If any of these are in disarray, employees will disengage. According to Gartner, 52% of employees strongly agreed that the pandemic has caused them to question the purpose of their jobs. A clear company mission that employees can connect with means those employees will have an innate desire to complete their work and do it well.

Six ways to boost employee self-confidence

Knowing how to boost someone’s confidence is a key trait of leaders, managers, and executives. Here are 6 ideas for how to boost employee confidence:

  • Recognition: Take the time to recognise someone’s efforts and contributions, even if they resulted in a negative outcome or their idea wasn’t chosen.
  • Offer Assistance: Knowing that help is available on a project can relieve pressure and increase confidence.
  • Cultivate Psychological Safety: As leaders, it is our responsibility to create a culture of psychological safety within the organisation and teams, so employees will feel more supported in speaking up and sharing their ideas.
  • Provide Training: From on-the-job skills training to a course specifically designed to raise self-confidence, resilience and interpersonal skills.
  • Listen: Sometimes, all it takes to create an atmosphere of openness is listening to that person, whether it be in a meeting with an idea or during a one-on-one call.
  • Delegate and Empower: Employees, must step up to the plate when given responsibilities, which pushes them slightly outside of their comfort zone, which is how they gain confidence.

Building confidence at work, not only increases the value and resilience of your business, but the ripple effect also flows onto family and community.

Related: Mindset, how’s yours?

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Michael Shaw
Michael Shaw
Michael Shaw is managing director of Dale Carnegie BOP Waikato (www.bop-waikato.dalecarnegie.com). He can be reached on Michael.shaw@dalecarengie.com

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