7 Ways to Embolden the Timid
The timid are an untapped reservoir of potential in a world dominated by risk-takers.
Everyone falls below their potential for lack of courage.
- Presses into uncertainty.
- Attempts the unattempted.
- Fails and tries again.
- Says, “We can reach higher.”
- Sees opportunity where others see obstacles.
The timid feel great when they avoid risk.
Apart from Courage:
- Bullies win.
- Gossip spreads.
- Organizations drift.
- Frustration continues.
- Ineffective systems and process roll on.
- People who don’t make waves get promoted.
- Excuses sound reasonable. An excuse is the reason an unsatisfactory present is acceptable.
Tap the potential of the timid by providing clarity, safety, and direction.
7 ways to embolden the timid:
- Agree on noble goals. Be sure the timid care about reaching the goals that matter to you. Don’t impose your aspirations on others.
- Describe the path forward in language that matches their temperament. Detail matters to the timid.
- Create incremental steps. The bold leap. The timid feel their way forward like a person in the dark.
- Discuss what could go wrong. Bravado doesn’t impress the timid. Get real!
- Make plans for dealing with surprises. What will we do if …? Plans enhance security. Systems strengthen the timid.
- Build safety nets. The greatest enhancer of boldness is the people around you. Identify a person to be a safety net. Be sure the safety net knows they’re a go to person.
- Don’t keep talking about far off goals. It drives the cautious crazy. Stay focused on the present.
Bonus: Don’t pressure the timid to become bold. Even when a small step works, the next still feels uncertain to the timid.
The greatest factor in boldness is the person by your side.
How might leaders embolden the timid?
Quoting: “Discuss what could go wrong. Bravado doesn’t impress the timid. Get real!” This recommendation warrants some consideration for me at least. First, I would not want to dwell on what could go wrong – simply acknowledge things migh go wrong; help the timid know that the fear of failure that is likely linked to their timidity cannot be controlling – but rather a source of help in regrouping. Second, I’m not sure when bravado is important; bravado should nor result from success, only confidence should. And, third, reality should always be the objective; there is no time when the “get real” button should be needed.
Thanks John. Glad you teased out this idea and added your insights.
I find that helping the timid move forward includes these discussions about what could go wrong and what will you do if they do go wrong. However, your point is well taken. It’s very easy to move from talking about what could go wrong to focusing on it and then not moving forward. Cheers
Let them know that when things go wrong, you will be there because you know they can put it right and go forward for you.
Remember that timidity is often accompanied by keen senses: think of rabbits. If failure is going to be accompanied by vengeance, they will know. And their actions will change accordingly, to protect themselves. Let them know you aren’t behind them checking up, but right beside them, helping them and seeing the benefits with them.
Thanks Mitch. I’m glad you’re bringing out the advantages of being timid or cautious. I’m so thankful for my cautious colleagues. Plus, everyone needs others on their team. 🙂
Mitch and Dan, thanks a lot for your considerate view of timid employees. Basically, I’m a shy person, once called “aloof” by a manager early in my employment with an organization. Within a few weeks, my boss said that that manager was broadcasting the excellent job I was doing for the organization. Amazing what getting to know a timid, or shy, person can do for a manager’s accuracy in perception. (Of course, familiarity can also substantiate that first impression.)
Give them one-on-one time and ask gentle questions to help them express their ideas. They don’t want to thought of as foolish and usually won’t speak up in group situations. Let them know that if they have questions, suggestions, or concerns, that you are available for them. Some of the best ideas come from the quiet ones, because they take more time to think things through instead of jumping in feet first.
Thanks Lezlie. Good call. It’s so true. My quiet colleagues have so much to offer. They make me better when they join the conversation.
Thank you for this reminder. I’m a bold one that can be shy at times, but I am definitely not timid. I am grateful for these insights so that I can create more win/win situations by keeping some of these key points in mind.
Thanks Red…best for the journey!