Something Harder than Believing in Yourself
If you think believing in yourself is hard, try believing in others.
Every leadership development tool, technique, method, and strategy fades in comparison to the power of belief. Everyone needs someone who believes in them; young leaders need it the most.
The people who change us the most believe in us the most.
The first person I coached changed when they understood their employer believed in them enough to invest time, energy, and money. It was belief – not pearls of wisdom – that lowered their walls or protection and gave them permission to change.
People worry less about proving themselves and more about performance when they believe others believe in them.
Believing is risky. We don’t believe in others because we’re afraid they’ll make us look bad. In the end, the ability to believe is about us.
How to let others know you believe in them:
- Learn who they are.
- Provide opportunities, challenges, and risks.
- Explore options and solutions with them. “What would you do?”
- Call for and expect high performance.
- Explain the whys behind what you’re doing.
- Express confidence in their abilities. Be specific.
- Help them learn from failure rather than beating them up with it.
- Speak well of them in front of others.
- Connect them with experienced mentors.
- Deal with them according to potential.
- Invest your time in them.
- Keep your distance. As long as they know you’re on their team, don’t meddle.
- Avoid molding them into your likeness; help them find their own.
- Tell the truth even when it hurts them.
- Celebrate their efforts and contributions; minimize yours.
All successful leaders courageously believe in others.
How do you let others know you believe in them?
How do you decide to believe in someone else?
Brilliant post Dan, I couldn’t agree more. A lack of belief in their people is the the one biggest error leaders make. Once they are able to believe the best in them, that is what they then look for and what they get. The whole workplace then starts a dance of learning and moving towards that belief.
Absolutely well said!
Thank you Christin.
I feel like you really believe in believing in others. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that belief takes your further than doubt.
couldn’t resist jumping into this one.
Thought: If someone fails in a delegated task – who is to blame? Belief ‘in’ and outcomes ‘from’ are often confused. Belief is conveyed by focusing on (real) progress and the attitude of the person. If we look at peoples attitude and their willingness to learn and demonstrate progress then belief is easy. Over-believing is when we expect too much, don’t weigh the person well and set everyone up for disappointment. A good leader will follow your first point – understand who they are – because if you don’t everyone could be in for a world of hurt.
Thank you Richard.
Great seeing you. I love your inclusion of progress and attitude in this discussion. I think I get it — believe in people who are learning and growing.
Including the problem/fear/challenge of over-believing is very helpful! You make me think that we can put too much confidence in someone but we can still believe in them at the same time. They may not be able to deliver a certain project but we can still believe in their potential.
I needed this today! Thank you Dan
Thank you David.
Best success to you.
excellent points – the major one being having belief in someone else despite the possible pitfalls–I love all 15, with 14 being the hardest and most important
Thank you “On”
Speaking the hard truth only makes sense if we believe in someone’s potential. If we don’t, why bother?
Love the list! It’s hard and it’s so worthwhile.
I’ve found it especially helpful to voice my belief to individuals who are not accustomed to having anyone believe in them. Giving responsibility to such individuals can be life-changing – even something as simple as asking them to be the “buddy” for a new volunteer. I tried that on one young man who was initially volunteering in lieu of serving weekend sentences and who totally lacked confidence in himself – and turned him into one of my most reliable therapeutic riding volunteers back when I did that kind of volunteering myself.
Interns who worked for me found themselves challenged, but also VERY proud of their accomplishments when they learned that other interns from their courses were given little or no responsibility. Instead of “you will help Kim with a new brochure”, I’d say “You will create a new brochure and Kim will help you.” Made all the difference. They wanted to work for me again after graduating.
Thank you Jane.
Very useful comment. It’s wonderful how a small step (small responsibility) that expresses belief can make a huge difference for someone.
I just remembered how the COO of Microsoft, Bob Herbold, told me how a business man believed in him, when he was in high school, enough to trust him as the guy who ran the cash register in a retail business. He says it changed his life.
Investing in others is so rewarding when you see them begin to blossom and realize they have value!
Thank you Tina.
I love seeing the gleam in their eye when our belief in them gets traction and they begin to believe in themselves.
Yes, and it is two way street, as they get excited we do also for them 🙂
This was just what I needed Dan – I’ve struggled with this lately and realized that I believe in myself without fail, but have trouble trusting and believing in others (probably the control freak in me). This is one post I’m printing and posting in my work space, and in my coaching folder. I will also share with my leader team. THANK YOU!
Thank you Kelly.
This post reflects my own leadership journey too. You have my best wishes for your success.
My favorite line today? “The people who change us the most believe in us the most.” Wonderfully said.
How do I try to let others know I believe in them?
I take time to discover their talents and then find ways they can exhibit them within the parameters of what needs to be accomplished.
I describe to them a time I saw them do something remarkable. Often people tend to underestimate the value of their own talents.
Even better: I describe a talent I noticed to a third party as the talented person listens to me brag about him/her.
I ask them for advice in an area in which they excel.
Thank you Dauna.
Your suggestions fit perfectly. Uncovering someones talents is an act of belief in them and their potential.
All your comment needs is numbers 1 – 4 and you have a great list of practical suggestions… 🙂
I love this. Thank you very much. Applies to parenting too.
Thank you Gracious.
I think all parents are leaders… 🙂
Find anyone you believe to be a success and ask them “who was the person who made them believe they had value and could be successful?” Not only will they tell you who but they might be able to give you the day and time. That is how powerful “believing in other is !”
Thank you Larry.
That’s what I hear from some of the worlds top leaders…thanks for saying it so powerfully.
This couldn’t be more true! And needs to be in front of the masses. We were a part of this very dynamic. Amazing leader, had more trust in our abilities when we were still honing them. Insisted we were running our own businesses and trusted us to do so.
The challenge is when, in a large corporation, this brilliant, dynamic leader advances and is replaced with someone of the complete opposite leadership style. Skeptical of everyone. In a position way over her head, trying to hide that by targeting the weaknesses of her own team and micromanaging details thus creating doubt in the abilities of our entire team in the eyes of those who saw and felt our prior success.
What was once a thriving team, creating record growth, empowering the thousands of stores and tens of thousands of associates that we influenced daily, became an angry, confused, scared and bitter group of individuals, of which only 3 if the original 7 remain. Only after most of the damage was done was the leader removed. And ultimately, who really loses out?
No example will ever drive this message home more clearly for my future leadership roles, than to give the gift of trust in order to empower my team. Because, when you experience that trust being away from you, it’s hard to rebuild that trust in yourself and in your leadership.
Thank you for a fantastic guide to follow for all leaders!
Thank you Lisa.
YOur contribution is breath-taking and sad. I fear it occurs far to frequently.
Leadership/leaders matter! I remember hearing Jim Collins talking about his original intent to focus on great organizations. He was dead set against focusing on leaders. He didn’t want to write a book or do research on individual leaders… His team eventually helped him see that the great organizations they uncovered had unique leaders..He shifted focus…among other things “level 4” leaders came from their research.
Good leaders matter… poor leaders matter. It’s incredibly easy to lead poorly!
Great post to support leading our tribe as we build our platform.
Thank you Lyndie.
I wish you success!
I try not to comment with just “I agree”, but this is one of those messages that just can’t be stated often enough or with enough power.
Leaders ought to be CBOs (Chief Belief Officers)!
Thank you David.
CBO … there’s a role I’d love to play in an organization.
Good points to lead successfully and winning the confidence of subordinates to get better productivity with higher commitment levels. The belief in others and taking them along are the keys to success.
Getting a good boss as an ideal leader can be a dream for many!
Thank you Dr. Asher.
So true… a good boss changes everything. In this case a good boss understands the power of belief.
Yet, the question remains:
If you have been disappointed quite a number of times, how do you get back trust? Yes, you can just trust someone but there will soon be a point where you get into the behaviour of mistrusting.
I choose just to believe from the ground that everybody is a good person, but trust is something people have to work for. As easily as you give it, as easy it is taken.
Thank you Idyona,
It’s great that you brought up an important dimension to this conversation… Lets get real here!!
You remind me that I might fully trust my mechanic to work on my car but I don’t trust him to fix a cavity in my teeth. Blanket trust is meaningless, dangerous, and ineffective.
The ability to believe in someone begins with us…there is a them component. Believe in people who have passion, willingness to learn (humility), admit when they are wrong, and a desire to grow. (I’m sure there are other things to add to the list)
Another great post Dan, #13 really resonated with me. Just because “that’s not the way I would do it”, doesn’t mean it’s wrong or that “my” way is best. Validate and empower the people you work with.
Thanks for your work
Thank you Carl.
I feel like I’m always holding my tongue so that others have space to do it their way… people can be so frustrating 😉
I walk around whispering to myself… just stay out of it…just stay out of it…just …
Reblogged this on willowcreeksa.
I believe in someone by staying out of their way.
Give someone a project and let them make it their own.
Thank you Steve.
Clear, concise, and brilliant.
“The people who change us the most believe in us the most.” That did it for me. That was all I needed to read, the rest was just gravy. I’ll be chewing on this thought for awhile- thanks!
Thank you Jacob.
An encouragement is a thing of beauty.
As a school teacher of young children and young leaders, your words are extremely powerful and a good reminder for how important our role is in valuing each child, building their confidence, and inspiring them to be better than they were before they met you. On a daily basis, what we choose to say or do can have such a positive or negative impact on their sense of self-worth.
One of the most beautiful and rewarding things we get to observe in our job is children’s overall growth in confidence because of the many ways we gently nudge, encourage, and challenge them to safely go outside their comfort zone with a genuine smile and words like, “I know you can do it” or simply, “I believe in you”. There’s a fine balance and art in teaching (or for any leader)… to know when to challenge and in what area, how far to push, recognize when to offer support and if it’s necessary, while all done in a way that’s best suited for that particular child (or person). When it happens though, it’s simply priceless and a moment you want to savour longer than the time allows.
Similarly for parents, we need to remember that words are powerful, both in a positive and negative way. What are you choosing to say to your children to empower them to change for the better? They are our young leaders who need us to believe in them.
Thank you for sharing your insight, Dan! Your 15 How-to’s are very helpful too!
Believing in someone and genuinely showing it, be it a colleague, student, or family is one of the most powerful acts of human nature. I have always tried to do this with people in my life and in my teaching;always looking for the good in people and situations. Sometimes this is very hard but I still try. Some say that I am wearing rose colored glasses but your blog has been very affirming to me to believe in myself and to keep believing in others!.
Thank you Dan for this amazing post – I will be sharing it widely!
15 Great points…
13th point is a lesson to me.
Thank you for giving such a good information Mr.Dan
Love the way it is smoothly driven !
I can’t wait for the next article