How can you inspire an individual to have faith in their abilities and excel?
Some employees need more hand-holding than others. As managers, we know how much time and attention underconfident employees can require. They can be slower, overly cautious and seek clarification on many things. For a busy manager, this type of employee can be a lot to handle.
But we should remember that these uncertain employees are actually desperate to do a good job. They just need time and reassurance — and in time, it will pay off. After all, employees with greater faith in their ability perform far better than those who doubt themselves.
So how can you adapt your performance management system to motivate, inspire and embolden an uncertain employee? Begin by following the steps below and you’ll begin to notice your employee slowly developing confidence and reassurance in their strengths.
Make it clear that you believe in their abilities
It should already be obvious that you believe in your employees. After all, if you didn’t think they could do their job, you certainly wouldn’t have hired them. However, some employees are worried they’ll let you down, or that perhaps their CV and interviewing skills are more impressive than their work performance is. Some people even suffer from what is known as “Imposter Syndrome”. This is a concept that describes high-achieving individuals who have a complete inability to internalise their accomplishments. They’re in constant fear that, one day, they will be outed as a fraud, despite what skills they may have.
Take the time to express that you have complete faith in their abilities and let them know that even if it takes them a while to become fully productive, that’s okay. It’s better that they advance and a slow and steady pace than try to take too much on at once and suffer burnout.
Don’t micromanage your workforce
Your underconfident employee may be so because they have always been micromanaged in the past. When you have every aspect of your working life mandated and directed, you can’t branch out. You can’t experiment. You can’t develop the skills you want and you can’t become self-reliant. So although this might be something your employee is accustomed to, you don’t want to continue the tradition.
Instead of constantly looking over your employee’s shoulder and instructing them, give them some autonomy. At Clear Review, we advise managers to let employees write their own SMART objectives — although, of course, this should always be on the back of a discussion with the manager. You might also consider allowing them to use some work time to work on a particular project or to develop a given skill. You might consider implementing flexible working, so they have control over their hours. All of this will eventually contribute to a more independent, confident mindset.
Remember to deliver praise and recognition in a timely manner
If an employee is uncertain, what they are really looking for is reassurance that they are doing the right thing, or advancing at a healthy pace. If you’re tight-lipped with your praise and acknowledgements, this won’t help your employee’s levels of confidence.
We recommend you incorporate continuous performance management into your company. This means manager and employee will have monthly check-ins, and managers can use this time to deliver appropriate, honest recognition and strengths-based feedback. Remember, recognition is always more effective when it is specific and timely.
Be open to their feedback on existing processes
Whatever you do, don’t make your underconfident employee feel superfluous. Remind them they are an integral element of the team and that their feedback is always valued.
Are they having issues with certain workplace processes? Do they have ideas on how to improve certain areas of the organisation? Take all these thoughts on board. You never know what valuable feedback might lead to significant boosts in overall company productivity. Your employee’s confidence will be elevated not only by management listening and entertaining their feedback, but if they are able to see the positive effects caused by their input, this can do wonders for their ego.
Use performance management software to provide real-time communication
Let your employee know that you are always available for a discussion, or to deliver feedback, at any point. This might be the safety net they need to get on with their work and perform at a high standard. Knowing they have you on hand when required will be great for their peace of mind. Our performance review software allows everyone in the organisation to exchange real-time, honest feedback at the click of a button. Don’t allow yourself to fall behind in terms of technological advancement. With millennials (who expect instant feedback) increasingly making up the workforce, real-time feedback is increasingly critical for business success.