Leaders work hard to build confidence in their teams.
They know that building confident teams and people is vital to success.
Confident team members are more creative, communicate more effectively,
and take more risks.
Plus, it’s easier to delegate to a confident person.
Sometimes the very actions leaders take to create confidence, can backfire. How does what was meant to be a confidence-builder become a confidence buster? It’s a matter of depth.
Here are a few ways well-intentioned leaders destroy confidence (from the follower’s point of view):
1. Give me a new big task, because you believe in me
… but don’t give me enough support to succeed
2. Tell me I am doing great
…with no details as to what is working
3. Recognize what I do at work
… and ignore who I am and what I am accomplishing on the sidelines
4. View me as a specialist
… and overlook my creative ideas and what I could contribute to the bigger picture
5. Stay calm, cool, and collected
… and show no emotion around my big wins
The common thread through all of these well-intentioned actions is how much the leader invests. Building confidence requires exploring deeply with someone. Understanding what they are most proud of and building on that through specific opportunities, feedback and recognition.
It also involves getting into the muck, working a few levels below the obvious insecurity to understand what scares them, and helping them to overcome those fears one step at a time.
With subtle shifts in approach, leaders can build on their positive intentions, and work to create stronger, more-confident followers.