At a personal level a lack of confidence can often lead to missed opportunities – perhaps a lack of self-belief or a fear of rejection mean you don’t try new things.
Confident employees are good for business. They can make decisions faster, be more creative and more productive. They are also likely to stay with the organisation for longer.
Here are some ways personal assurance contributes to a team’s effectiveness – and what you can do to foster it.
1. Confident teams take responsibility and solve problems
Henry Ford once said: “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
When a team is aware of its goals and how it fits into the wider picture, staff can grow to really master their roles and improve their own effectiveness.
“In a confident team, there’s an energy and a sense that anything’s possible,” says Victoria McLean, CEO and founder of career consultancy City CV. “Obstacles appear less daunting and company objectives and targets are more likely to be met.”
2. Confident employees can resolve conflicts
Differences are inevitable in the workplace, all the more so where there are several teams working according to differing goals, resources and priorities.
If managed badly, these can become conflicts that consume the time and energy of line managers or HR officers called upon to act as umpires.
Confident employees on the other hand are less likely to feel threatened by challenges from colleagues. And if conflicts do emerge, they are much more likely to be able to resolve them without the intervention of superiors.
3. Confident employees win and retain business
Self-assured employees can bring in news customers and resolve difficulties with existing ones before they ever become a serious problem. They make better communicators, will ask more questions and inspire confidence in clients.
Conversely, apprehensive employees may find it hard to deal effectively with colleagues and clients. They are less ikely to ask insightful questions and may fail to create the impression they really understand or appreciate clients, or can add value to them. So they may be a factor in causing customers to move on to pastures new.
4. Confident team members are more productive and more loyal
Confident people are more productive. Productive people are more confident. It’s a virtuous cycle – and one that you can foster as a manager or leader.
Jon Gilpin, an audit partner with BDO Birmingham, believes the impact of culture on staff retention is significant.
BDO aims to create an environment that encourages employees to “Be Yourself”. “This means not being afraid to speak up in meetings, to share thoughts, opinions or concerns and be your true self no matter your role or level of seniority” , says Gilpin.
Businesswoman Lisa Forde, owner of stationery maker Dotty About Paper, says clear roles create confidence and reduce stress. “When everyone knows their role well and feels capable to carry it out to the best of their ability, stress is reduced. When people feel comfortable in their job, they are also more likely to stay with you for longer.”
5. Confident team members are easier to lead
When team members are properly empowered, understand their roles, and are valued it makes them easier to lead.
Lisa Forde adds: “Time is precious and delegating tasks is an important part of keeping on top of your schedule. When my employees have confidence in themselves, I can have confidence in them. This has been invaluable to me when it comes to delegating, as I can trust them to get the job done.”
BDO supports staff with resilience training
Accountancy practice BDO is supporting its staff with resilience training, which focuses on “performance under pressure”. These resilience sessions in particular help staff work more efficiently and manage the inevitable stress that comes with having a client-facing role with often very tight deadlines.
BDO also uses a buddy system where new trainees partner with more experienced juniors: “This helps build confidence on both sides as both can learn from one another,” says Jon Gilpin, of BDO Birmingham. “Passing on their knowledge and experience also helps a mentor realise just how far they have come and how much they have learnt since they started with the firm.”
Are you doing enough to improve employees’ confidence ?
- Focus on cutting down stress and ensure employees feel comfortable in their roles and responsibilities by building a good working relationship with them.
- Use structured career development programmes to help team members identify and articulate their skills.
- Coach staff on their personal branding and how to market their career as a brand would. Help them gain the confidence to network and market themselves internally and externally.
- Lack of confidence and imposter syndrome is incredibly common – watch out for staff whose education or background may make them susceptible to feeling inferior, and give them appropriate support.
- Offer staff internal networking opportunities and expose them to diverse role models.
- Coach employees to build resilience skills and cope with changes in the workplace. Consider sending individuals on specialist resilience training.
- Introduce a mentoring or buddy systems to give employees a wider perspective.
- Keep yourself up to date with new management techniques that are springing up to capitalise on new learning and maximise employee confidence.
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Neil Johnson is a freelance business journalist who contributes regularly to trade publications and member organisations, covering employability, recruitment, business trends and industrial analysis.