If confidence is the belief in our own abilities to succeed without arrogance, then leaders should crave a team of confident employees. These employees step out of their comfort zone and take risks. In today’s world, the risks you take help measure your success.
Rather than a skill we may or may not have, confidence is a practice developed and honed over time by trying, failing, and learning. Employees need an environment where they feel safe enough to try something new so they can develop the self-confidence needed to take on more important tasks. With more self-confidence, they push harder to achieve their greatest potential, which benefits the business.
Here are three ways to promote a corporate culture of trust for employee and business success.
1. BUILD COMFORT AROUND FEEDBACK
Direct and timely feedback builds trust. Be honest when assessing an employee’s strengths and weaknesses so they never have to worry about what their manager really maybe think of them.
There is no need to tear people down by doing this. Instead, build what more they could accomplish through their strengths with constant learning and improvement. Confidence starts with becoming more self-aware to help employees create a confident mindset of their unique strengths and understand how that mindset builds a better team.
While only 7% of interpreted information comes from the messages we speak, people can attribute up to 38% meaning through tone. Even the most brilliant leader will find that speaking in a high-pitched, pompous tone will keep others from hearing their thoughts, strategies, or feedback.
Instead, use a calm, strong, and deliberate tone to avoid ambiguity or to avoid appearing hostile. Sometimes we speak harsher than expected, which may seem disrespectful. If someone responds negatively to your comments, take a minute to consider your tone before continuing.
Comments should also be personalized. Although you don’t have to be friends with everyone, you should at least treat employees as people with feelings and interests. Get to know who they are beyond just an employee. With greater knowledge of the person that exists outside of the office, leaders can craft better empathetic feedback for the recipient. Instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all management style, adapt to the needs of each employee to build their individual confidence.
2. GIVE THEM WHAT THEY NEED TO DO THEIR JOB WELL
If you want a team of confident people who believe they can do their job, give them the tools they need to do that job well. While this doesn’t necessarily mean everything will be perfect, it is part of building trust.
For example, when our business started to grow, we gave Product Management and Sourcing full authority to buy what they thought they needed to do their job and we ended up with a very raised. This allowed us to gather feedback and gauge our spending, further building trust while providing the data needed to support future decisions that otherwise depended on tribal knowledge. Now, with this feedback, we can spend again to invest in the development of these areas.
New employees also need proper training to work effectively and feel confident in carrying out their responsibilities. I used to say, “Practices are things that guide you and your behaviors, but policies are excuses to stay behind. But privileging practices rather than policies made me resist the development of important training processes that now become more critical as we grow.
These types of policies and processes are simply documentation of day-to-day activities to create day-to-day tools that allow you to grow. In addition to training options for new hires (like looking at other scenario models they might come across), it’s important to consider tribal knowledge in new product development and turn the information into the head. people in a documented process. It may take more work, but with established training processes, your ability to effectively onboard new people grows with the organization.
3. COMMUNICATE YOUR VISION
Only with a well-communicated vision from the leader of an organization can an employee pursue that vision with confidence. Beyond simple awareness of the vision and strategy, employees must understand why the leader has this vision and how this strategy intends to guide the company. Not everyone will always agree with your vision, but at least try hard enough to make sure everyone understands it clearly.
Vision, strategy and execution are part of what I call our “Now of Age” plan, which we communicate not only to our employees but also to our customers and investors. We boldly proclaim its core elements on our website because we are not afraid of our competitors knowing where we are going. We shouted our intentions to grow from the rooftops and made it clear that we were gathering the resources to do so, but had to do a lot of guesswork on products and materials along the way.
I’ve seen our team members step out of their comfort zone to make this happen. We have achieved 90% growth this year, exceeding our annual target, and I can already see this success reflected in the confidence of my employees.
Confident teams represent confident businesses, and confident businesses make money. Leaders should be responsible for building a culture that inspires these mindsets. Find ways to allow employees to feel reassured in their decisions, abilities, and skills so that they feel comfortable speaking up, sharing ideas, and solving problems. Give them the tools and the freedom to be creative, try new things and innovate. The more opportunities you create for your employees to build confidence, the happier and more productive they will be.
Cheri Beranek is President and CEO of Clearfield, which provides fiber optic management and connectivity solutions across North America.