Improving Your Team : Giving Your Team Confidence

You learned how to set goals and encourage teamwork in your group. Now you'll read about some more subtle methods of improving your team.

One important aspect of your team's performance is their level of confidence in their leadership, their goals, and their own work. One way that you can project confidence in your group is to show through offhanded actions and words that you believe in them. For example, Christina knew her department was capable of raising yearly sales levels by at least 15 percent. They had the products, the know-how, and the time to really pull it off. But she noticed a certain amount of uncertainty and self-doubt in her staff members. At the next morning staff meeting, Christina told her group they were getting close to breaking last year's sales record and said, "You guys are going to come in 15 percent over last year if you keep this up. Wow." By stating her desired and attainable goal as a given, Christina let her team know how confident she was in their abilities.

You can project confidence to your group with blanket statements as well, such as telling an employee she always does a great job. The more specific you make these statements, the more believable they will be. You can also project confidence in your team in several other ways, including the following:

  • Take ability as a given.  

    If you're convinced someone can do a particular job, but the person is not sure of his her own abilities, verbally acknowledge those abilities as a given. You might say, "I know you'll be great at this because …."

  • Give compliments.  

    A leader should always compliment employees on a job well done. No task done well is too big or small to be recognized.

  • Assign confidence-building projects.  

    Assign smaller projects that will stretch a team member's responsibility a little bit at a time. The fact that the projects are smaller in scope will allow the team member to accrue successes quickly, building the individual's confidence.

  • Reinforce confidence.  

    People cannot live on confidence alone. Back up your confidence in your group by rewarding them with raises, bonuses, and promotions, or by recognizing their contributions publicly.

  • Acknowledge the winning team.  

    Let your employees know they are part of a winning team by referring to it as such. For example, tell them they really make you look good and that their hard work is not going unnoticed in the larger organization. This will redouble each individual's desire to perform and not let the team down.

 

Caution : Concentrate on building your team's confidence, but remember to be realistic. Never lead someone to believe that he or she can do something that is just not feasible. If an individual fails, your statements will have the opposite effect of shattering his or her confidence.