3 Tips to Build Confidence in Timid Team Members
You make work miserable when you drain confidence from your team.
Confidence is fuel to face the future with optimism.
Confidence turns toward opportunity; self-doubt turns away.
Frivolous cheerleading doesn’t build confidence. It’s tiresome and irritating.
Stop howling at the moon. Any leader who shouts encouragement while ignoring painful realities is a lunatic.
Why cheerleading doesn’t build confidence:
When you tell timid people they can do it, they say, “No I can’t.” If they don’t say it, they think it.
Our inner critic is more convincing than external encouragement.
Someone says, “You can do it.” Your inner critic whispers, “Don’t believe it. They don’t really know you. You can’t do it. It’s dangerous to try. Don’t be overconfident. You better play it safe.”
Self-doubt finds reasons to reject encouragement.
Encouragement that works:
Powerful encouragement begins with ‘I’ not ‘you.’ Team members are less likely to reject your personal observations. For example…
“I notice you handled that stressful situation with compassion. That’s a remarkable quality. When you think about the future, how might compassion under stress serve you well?”
What can self-doubt say when you share personal observation? “You’re wrong.”
Encouragement works when you shift toward the future quickly. There’s no time for discounting or rejecting.
3 tips to build confidence in timid people:
#1. Don’t use frivolous cheerleading to convince fearful people they’re courageous. Reluctance resists pressure and finds reasons to reject encouragement.
#2. Create space for people to explore and apply their competence. Don’t sit across the table; sit on the same side.
#3. Use forward-facing strategies. Avoid defensiveness.
Timid team members poke holes in encouragement because they don’t believe it. You waste energy breathing life into ideas others reject. Create space where people convince themselves.
How can leaders work to build confidence into reluctant team members?
3 Powerful Steps Toward Confidence
Why Self-Confidence Is More Important Than You Think
In our new environment where many people are working remotely and hosting virtual meetings, the ability to sit beside your timid co-worker is not an option, and can feel very one sided. Relationships aren’t at the same level when you have only met virtually. What are some ways that you have had success in building confidence in a timid co-worker?
Glad you articulated that. Remote/online is doubly challenging for building confidence in a timid colleague. Hopefully awareness helps moves things in the right direction. Vulnerability comes to mind.
Thanks for jumping in Rob. Great suggestion. Vulnerability is an invitation to connect. Not everyone will jump in, but connection requires vulnerability.
Hi Sara, Thanks for your observation and question re: how to build confidence in remote workers. Great question. I spend lots of online time with leaders.
There are relational advantages to face-to-face work. But, we are able to build supportive work relationships with virtual employees. What are you doing to build relationships in the real world? What transfers to the virtual world?
Sitting beside in the virtual world:
In the real world you look at pictures on someone’s desk. You ask about family, sports, hobbies, traffic, weather, and when appropriate, health. Do the same thing on line. When someone apologizes because a child, pet, or plumber make noise use it to connect.
If a plumber for example makes noise, ask about it. Do you mind if I ask, are you renovating? I sure hope you aren’t having issues. Where did you find a good plumber?
Talk to people like you just bumped into them in the grocery story. Be brief. Show interest. Share a bit of yourself.
Specifically on building confidence in others, I had a conversation with Simon Sinek you might find useful. 13-ways-to-overcome-timidity-and-fuel-boldness
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