leaders know how to get the most out of their employees, whatever their
strengths and weaknesses. But employees who lack confidence create a very
An employee who lacks confidence is
unlikely to be working to the best of their ability. Plagued by self-doubt and
questioning their skills, they don’t always have the confidence necessary to
push themselves (and the business) forward.
So how to give an under-confident employee
the boost they need to be happier and more productive at work? Here are five
ways you can help:
Give them the Right
Don’t expect your employees to find certain
tasks easy, just because you do.
For instance, when we’re talking about
employees of the millennial generation and younger, these guys have grown
up with online communication. Picking up a phone to make a business call
can feel quite daunting to them and they’re likely to lack confidence in this
Try to discover the areas in which your
employees could use a little more support. Then set up some personal mentoring
or an appropriate training course.
If there’s a specific area of their job in
which they lack confidence, learning new skills or just some industry info
could give your employees the self-esteem boost they need to work more effectively.
Give them Praise
If you don’t give
your employees proper recognition for the work they do, they might doubt
their abilities and their confidence will suffer.
Give regular feedback, in both formal and
informal capacities. Praise your employees for a job well done. And don’t wait
till the end of a long project. Show your appreciation at mini milestones too.
It can also help to be specific in your
praise. A generic phrase like “good job” rarely sinks well, especially with
someone who lacks confidence. Think of specific instances when your employee
demonstrated their business aplomb or personal skill and incorporate an example
into your praise.
Employees who feel that they are valued and
performing well in their job will grow in confidence.
Be Specific About your
For an employee who lacks confidence, being
given a vague task can be hugely daunting. When you’re delegating, be specific
in your requirements. Give detailed instructions, examples and a definite
If it’s a particularly long task or
project, you might also want to schedule progress meetings. Treat these
meetings as a collaboration rather than an inspection of work to date. It’s a
time to share ideas and decide together on the best path forward.
With the right information to work with and
feeling that they have your support, your employees will be more confident at
tackling the task at hand.
Let Them Prepare
Under-confident employees won’t thrive in a
company culture where they’re expected to fly by the seat of their pants.
Calling a last minute meeting and expecting them to offer up some great ideas
is probably unrealistic.
Giving them a little warning is the best
approach. This gives your employees chance to prepare, which means they’re much
more likely to engage in group situations and have
the confidence to speak up.
Having a positive experience in situations
like this will encourage them to contribute more effectively on future
Get them to Train Someone
Nothing gives an employee a confidence
boost like training a new member of the team.
In teaching someone everything they know
about a role, your employee will get to realise how much they really do know
themselves. Just give your employee the tools and time they need to prepare.
Giving them this responsibility will show
them that you believe in their abilities. And it will hopefully help them to
believe in those abilities too.
Helping your employees grow in confidence
can be truly rewarding for a business leader. Not only do you see improvements
for the business. You also get to see your employees growing as people and
becoming more accomplished in their jobs.
By locating areas of particular
under-confidence, offering praise, providing adequate support and giving
employees the opportunity to prove their knowledge (both to you and
themselves), you will help your employees to gain the confidence they need to
About the author:
Audrey Robinson is an experienced team leader and customer care manager, currently supporting Maxo – telecommunication experts. Working with a variety of teams across many projects has given Audrey insight into the importance of leadership, cooperation, and knowledge sharing – the insight which she now shares with others.