My employees consistently exceed my expectations.
How much would you love to be able to say that?
But it’s true, and it’s not a coincidence.
They do it because they’re confident.
Here are five things I do to contribute to high confidence in my people.
1. I Give Them Challenges.
I’m constantly running experiments to find out where my employees’ strengths lie. I need to know because that’s where their biggest satisfaction and career development will come from.
Their growth translates directly into better results for our customers.
As they grow and mature professionally, their confidence levels climb. And that means they can handle even bigger challenges. Virtuous circle.
It’s easy to run experiments if you make it a priority. Here are some ideas:
- Think of something the did well this week. Think of what the next level would look like and ask them to do it.
- Look at your email and your calendar. There are probably dozens of things you could hand off to them.
- Identify the lowest-value task that belongs to one of your highest-performing employees and ask them to delegate it to someone who would grow from it.
Remember, don’t use your people to get the work done. Use the work to develop your people instead.
2. I Force Them To Make Mistakes.
Part of giving people challenges is also figuring out what they’re not good at. I need to know that so I don’t focus them on the wrong kinds of work or put them in the wrong roles.
But that means they’re going to fail at some things. Except I never treat it like failure. I treat it like learning. You know, that process where you do something wrong until you do it right?
And I make it happen on purpose.
Imagine how confident they become when they make mistakes and nothing bad happens! They’re more willing to take smart risks and try new things.
3. When People Get Wins, I Pounce.
My favorite thing is when someone comes to me excited about something they’ve done. It means they’ve accomplished something noteworthy and generated a win.
I celebrate those wins with them.
Our conversation consists of things such as:
- Asking them to tell me more about how they did it.
- Asking them to tell me about the results.
- Asking them what made them think they could pull it off.
- Thanking them genuinely and specifically.
- Telling them why their taking initiative is so valuable to me and the organization.
Important: the size of the win relative to the business doesn’t matter. It’s the size of the win relative to their role and their confidence level.
4. Build Career Narratives
When someone on my team accomplishes something, I always stop to talk about how that accomplishment will help their career. I encourage them to write it down and create a narrative. I demonstrate how I would talk about it in a job interview if I were they.
You might think that’s crazy! Why would I want them to think about future job interviews?
It’s because I want them to be confident while they’re with me.
People stay longer at a job where they’re accomplishing things and growing.
5. Role Playing Like A Madman
Everytime I want someone to do something new, I role play it with them.
I always put myself on the hot seat.
Sometimes I hit home runs on the first try, which gives them something to emulate. Sometimes I crash and burn and need a do-over, which makes them feel safe.
Nothing will build your people’s confidence as much as your own vulnerability. Being willing to fail in front of your team will sharpen your skills and help them level up faster.
That means more confidence. More confidence means a more powerful workforce.
Never do or say anything that reduces your employees’ confidence. If you don’t know how to give feedback without making people feel less confident, go learn how. Best investment you’ll make in your business this year.