Confidence is king


Confidence plays an important role in many areas of our lives. You will often here it said of footballer, for example, that they are a confidence player. I know from my own inability to play golf that I become marginally less rubbish if I have confidence in my next shot. Leaders who lead directly and with confidence are people that we want to follow. If you offer somebody direction, with confidence, they will, most likely, blindly follow. And the opposite is also true. Even if you know what you are talking about, if you do not present a confident argument, you will generally be ignored.

The same is true of your team. A team, full of confidence, will be more efficient at finding solutions to your problems.  If confidence is low, time will be wasted while they decide even if they can solve the issue. The idea that; there is no such thing as a problem without a solution, goes out of the window.

When a team questions their ability to solve a problem. The problem is in danger of not being solved.

Building Confidence.

It is important to be active in building the confidence of your team. This includes being on the look out for things which will damage the confidence of individuals.

  1. Public praise.
    Be vocal about the successes of your team and the individuals within it. Publicise the good activity that is going on all the time. This is especially important if an individual  has been struggling for confidence. Inform other areas in the organisation of your successes. When a project is completed or an important milestone is reached, spread the word. Send an email highlighting the work and the individuals involved. Twitter is also a great tool for this and especially useful in the web world where what you are working on is often in the public domain. When your team does something well, hold it up for all to see.
  2. Do not allow individuals to dominate a team.
    A certain way to knock the confidence of an individual is if they are in a team with one or two unapproachable ‘experts’ . When one member of a team is perceived to always have the best solution others will be less willing offer suggestions.  Remember, a quite individual does not equate to an incompetent individual.  It is important to build the confidence of such individuals otherwise you will lose their valuable input. If you identify this situation your can try to build their confidence and their standing within the team.  Ask them specifically for their opinion. Take them aside and seek their assessment of an issue. Public praise can also be a useful tool for individuals  as well as teams. If somebody doesn’t have the confidence to contribute then you will lose their contribution.
  3. Do not set people up to fail.
    Be realistic with the challenges that you set for your team. If you consistently set an unrealistic target which ends with your team not achieving their goals, then their confidence and eventually their effectiveness will suffer. Break larger tasks into achievable chunks. Give people the opportunity to achieve something small along the way to a larger success. Failure is a demotivating experience. If it happens too often it can become habitual. Make sure that your team has a fighting chance of success. Do not set them up to fail.

A confident team is more productive. They are also more innovative in their solutions because they expect to not only achieve their goals but to excel at what they are doing.  It is important to not go too far and breed arrogance and complacency but a team of confident individuals will make your job a lot easier.

Have you had the experience of being in a team that has lacked confidence? What other ways of building the confidence of the team, or an individual, have you come across?

5 thoughts on “Confidence is king

  1. Good post Rob and I completely agree.

    I recall having open discussions with someone I considered to be a web guru, when he spoke everyone listened. Yet in these discussions he told me he’d reached that point where he finds himself teaching more than learning from colleagues, where he was making what seemed like inspired and brave decisions all the time not knowing for sure what the outcome would be – but the only thing that made him sound so authoritative was the confidence he showed when talking.

    Although this guy did happen to know what he was talking about…

    But an interesting cycle I’ve noticed when adopting this approach is that the more you make decisions as a leader with confidence, if the results of those decisions are generally good, people begin to believe in you and you actually DO become more confident… and that’s a cycle of happiness for everyone!

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