Confident employees are needed more than ever in today’s workplace. Having employees who know what needs to be done, know how to do it, and know what is needed to meet customers’ needs are critical to success. So, what are the barriers?

There are five common scenarios that play out in the workplace:

  • Employees that are too afraid to ask for help, avoiding being viewed as ‘stupid’, ‘needy,’ or a ‘bother.
  • Employees who seek constant reassurance from their managers, often spending most of their time asking for additional guidance on projects than completing the work.
  • Employees who are regularly reminded of their capabilities, but still are not comfortable stepping up.
  • Managers who micromanage and restrict employee activities thereby preventing employees from working to their full capabilities. Autonomy – confidence to perform on their own – is what every employee wants.
  • Employees who have witnessed or who have been the victim of making a decision only to be publicly berated or humiliated by their manager.

As a leader, ask yourself which of these scenarios are most common in your setting and what you can do to build confidence. First, it is practically impossible to build confidence without connecting with employees on a personal level, generating authentic dialogue, and cultivating trust. This connection is also necessary to find out what is causing the lack of confidence.

Second, consider a 360-evaluation or just ask your employees for feedback regarding your management style – are you un-knowingly micromanaging, or demonstrating anger when outcomes do not meet your expectations?

Lastly, determine what is needed to enhance self-confidence among employees. Here are 4 leadership tips that can help:

  1. Connect with Your Team on a Personal Level:
    Interact with your team and carefully listen to what they are saying. Make a personal connection. Watch for verbal cues associated with their lack of self-confidence, then express your confidence in their capabilities in all areas of performance.
  2. Find Their Niche: By identifying employee skills, interests and passions, you can help him/her to realize their potential. One way is to focus on existing accomplishments and passions, then guide them in transferring those key desirable skills to exciting new projects. That personal connection is essential.
  3. Elicit Leader Skills: Discuss areas in which the employee has expertise and elicit their help in delivering training or mentoring others. This essentially provides a way for her/him to see the true value of their skills. It also encourages them to take on a leader role and share their skills with others on the team.
  4. Appreciate Mistakes: Change the view of mistakes or errors to learning opportunities, by encouraging employees to see failure as something good. Inspire employees to make full use of mistakes, by helping them recognize that mistakes are in reality steps toward success. When an employee is already lacking confidence, your response to mistakes affect their morale and ultimately lead to constant frustration. AND, model this by publicly admitting and correcting your mistakes.

Letting employees know the value of their contributions and demonstrating your continuous appreciation are essential leader roles. Our research indicates that employees want to feel valued, respected, trusted, ad appreciated. A critical quality of leaders is to find ways to do this. The 4 Tips should help. Another consideration, as you already know, is to provide positive feedback, not just corrective feedback. Want to go one step further? Express positive feedback and praise in front of others. Wow! Talk about a confidence booster!