5 Skills To Develop Confidence In Your Team

Confidence is the holy grail that enables your teams to thrive in uncertainty, quickly recover from setbacks and lead others. Importantly, you can show others how to be more confident; it is not just a mindset, or an inner belief its also a skill set.

Confidence is not necessarily something your teams find or something that’s aspired to or proactively chased. It’s such an elusive entity, you can’t buy it, and it isn’t easy to know how to generate it. Yet confidence makes a huge difference to your team’s workplace performance and well-being.

It can be bewildering how individual team members appear totally and utterly confident about a particular project or person one minute, only for this confidence to disappear when they need it the most. Often this occurs when facing something fresh or new, and as managers and leaders, this is precisely the time when you need your team at the peak of their powers.

Before we can build confidence, we need to understand what undermines it

Confidence starts from within. Navigating the fragile and ever-changing workplace, dealing with pressure, and tackling personal and professional challenges require confidence. It’s the holy grail that enables your teams to thrive in uncertainty, quickly recover from setbacks and lead others. Importantly, you can show others how to be more confident; it is not just a mindset or an inner belief its also a skill set.

Developing the skills that grow the confidence of your team

It is right to put your teams into new experiences and support them outside of a training environment; however, this can be labour and time intensive as development takes time when it’s based only on experience, so growth is slow. If the team don’t have the skills, they need to be trained first. 

Give your teams the skills that allow them to self reflect, maintain mental agility and self-regulation, then developing confidence can be accelerated and owned by the individual, not the responsibility of their manager and leader. These skills also act as a universal language that can be used by managers to coach the individuals through new situations and scenarios that also speeds up and protects levels of confidence.

Five simple skills that build the confidence of your team

Picture the scene: you’ve got a member of the team who’s managing a new project, they have delivered for you before, but this is something very new to them and does not comfortably sit across their technical skillset. Their language changes and you can see the belief begin to ebb away as solutions don’t come as quickly to them as other projects have done.

1. Beat the bias and grab the good

There are lots of reasons why people may act this way, one of which involves the negativity bias. We all naturally have this thing called the negativity bias: Our brains are wired to detect risk, and in times like this, they can go into overdrive. It is now becoming essential, more than ever, that managers take a proactive approach and to help reduce the negativity bias and the impact it can have on members of their team.

Reducing this bias involves “grabbing the good” and getting the team and some individuals to focus on:

  1. The things that they have done, or are doing well
  2. Identify why this matters to them and
  3. How this can be replicated moving forward

2. Play to your strengths and the rest will follow

Everyone in your team is unique, and it’s important to remember that each individual brings something of value to the table. A set of strengths that represent who they are at their core. These strengths represent their positive personality traits that serve as a catalyst for all other strengths and skills.

A key enabler to your team’s inner confidence lies in knowing their strengths, recognising and understanding where and how they fit into their daily life and in finding ways to use them.

Research shows that defining and understanding strengths plays a significant role in our ability to feel and behave confidently.

Promoting a strength-based culture where people are familiar with their strengths and know-how to tap into them every single day to solve problems, boosts perspective and build strong relationships not only builds confidence but promotes happiness, teamwork and purpose too.

The irony is that most people believe that confidence is something to aspire to or something that needs to chased down. The reality can be different, and a secret to inner confidence is to use your strengths, and the rest will follow.

3. Remove the fear of failure

Easier said than done. Failure is funny, and your team probably spends too much time analysing their past mistakes and weaknesses. Reflecting on what went wrong can be positive and help avoid future errors. It can inhibit progress and dent confidence.

Help remove the fear of failure in your teams by permitting them to fail. Demonstrate through action and communication that failure is the first attempt in learning. Encourage your team members to explore what they would do if they knew it was impossible to fail?

If they have messed up individually or as a team, turn the situation into a learning one and discuss the 2 or 3 things they can learn from this experience and what they could do differently next time? In doing so, shift the attention from failure to a learning one.

Importantly don’t needlessly punish or ridicule any failure.

4. Reflect on past success

One of the most critical skills in building confidence is the ability to reflect. Reflect upon progress as much, if not more, than failure!

How often do you sit down at the end of the week/month/year and list everything the team has achieved? I expect rarely. I know we live in a time-poor world where tight deadlines are the norm, but this simple task is a great confidence booster. Giving yourself the gift of clarity and demonstrating to the team exactly what they are capable of despite the endless deadlines and demands.

It’s also an excellent opportunity to spot and reflect on your top strengths coming through!

5. Set stretched goals to challenge peoples comfort zone positively

Without stretching people and teams, confidence fails to grow, and they never reach their full potential.

As managers, you need to become accustomed to each of your team members comfort zones; you need to set challenges that push yet not break nor cause them too much stress. When the team or one of its members achieves a task that has positively pushed them, it gives them the will to keep growing and stretching themselves.

This will bring the added challenge as each person is different, but by getting it right, you will improve the confidence of the team and the individual.

Confidence is a key tool to dealing with the quick, relentless and uncertain nature of change

Given the current situation and I’m not talking Covid exclusively but the relentless speed of change, the number of transitions we ask of people and the need to do more with less. People need the skills to cope and adapt to new situations and challenges with confidence. 

Give people the essential mental, emotional and social skills that enable them to live better, work better and feel better in themselves and their environment. Actively show them a series of skills that they apply to situations that allow them to offsets the pace of change and its negative impact on confidence, engagement, performance and mental wellbeing.

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