When it comes to promoting health in the workplace, the common and not unreasonable assumption is that healthy employees are happier and more productive.
Poor health is, obviously, linked to high levels of sickness absence which costs the country several million working days lost a year.
But here’s the thing:
Although poor health and sickness absence as well as the consequences are all measurable there is a condition that is far more damaging because the harm cannot be so easily evaluated.
It is a condition which affects not only the individual but also the organisation as a whole:
The problem is that low self-confidence is not easy to connect with poor organisational performance.
This means that, left unaddressed, low self-confidence can cause real damage to your organisation.
Given this, I would argue that it’s worth your while to devote some time and energy to building it.
Here are some ideas on how to go about it.
By the way, you will find that these suggestions work with every relationship, not only your employees but your partner, friends, family, even waiters in restaurants and salespeople in your local supermarket!
1. Say ‘thank you’
A simple ‘thank you’ for everything anybody does that you like – and I mean everything! – works wonders. There are, however, two caveats:
(a) You have to mean it,
(b) It has to be deserved – a kind, loving or thoughtful gesture, good service, even meeting a deadline!
The problem is that, once we get used to people performing well, we come to expect it so, irrespective of whether we are part of a couple, a friend or a manager, we tend to take positive actions and behaviours for granted which can be really demoralising for the person at the receiving end.
Regular and consistent ‘thank you’s’ will not only make the individual feel valued and appreciated which is a huge confidence booster but they’re more likely to repeat that action or behaviour!
2. Show approval and appreciation
Praise, positive feedback and compliments fill one of our deepest emotional needs.
Although most of us are starved of appreciation, far too many of us still find it hard to accept them gracefully.
This is why, for this to work, you need to go out of your way to
(a) deliberately look for something to praise or compliment,
(b) give that praise, positive feedback and appreciation regularly and consistently,
(c) be very specific or you won’t be believed.
This doesn’t mean that mistakes or poor performance should be ignored. If you did, it would dilute the effectiveness of the praise.
At this point I’d like to mention a universal enemy – the ‘enemy within’ – your negative inner critic.
It is a fact of life that we all make mistakes.
I make mistakes, you make mistakes (no matter how senior you are) and your employees will make mistakes too.
I mention this because many of us prefer to forget this fact.
When we lack self-confidence even the smallest mistake is evidence of our ignorance, clumsiness and stupidity. This where our inner critic goes on the attack.
If you’re on a mission to increase your employees’ self-confidence then noticing a mistake or short-fall in somebody’s performance can be an opportunity to enable them to learn from that mistake. Used well, mistakes can be a treasure trove for growth!
Your job is to – figuratively – take them by the hand and guide them through what went wrong and why, and what they can learn from the experience.
Be firm: don’t allow them to play the blame game!
But here’s the thing:
All of your efforts will be for nothing if your thoughts and attitude towards that person are sceptical or negative.
To paraphrase a quote from no less a leader than Winston Churchill,
“If you want a person to demonstrate (the best in them in terms of actions and behaviours) approve the potential this person has to express them.”
In other words, make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And, if you want the results of your efforts to skyrocket, then express your approval in front of others.
One word of warning: make sure you treat every member of your team the same. Showing favouritism will only create resentment.
3. Pay attention
This is probably the most important and powerful thing you can do to boost a person’s self-confidence – whoever they may be.
I call it “love in action” because nothing demonstrates your positive attitude towards somebody more than listening to them attentively without judging.
However, you may have some habits which may get in your way, especially towards those who report to you.
Here are some examples.
(a) You prefer talking to listening in the mistaken belief that what you have to say is more important,
(b) You interrupt,
(c) You fear that, once you start listening, they will go on and on and on.
(d) You tell yourself you’re too busy,
If you’re honest and courageous enough to accept that you may have one or more of these habits then be mindful of the consequences of such behaviour:
Nothing destroys a person’s self-confidence more than being treated with disrespect, carelessly and thoughtlessly.
If, after reading this, you think, “it’s all too much trouble” then consider this.
Self-confident employees are
• more effective communicators,
• more willing to step out of their comfort zone,
• more open to receiving feedback,
• more willing to accept change,
• more willing to ask when they don’t know something and
• more willing to ask for help.
All this makes a significant difference not only to the individual’s productivity but also the bottom line and the general wellbeing of the organisation as a whole.
I’m Sue Plumtree, The Relationship Coach.
If you want to know more about how you can foster the self-confidence of your employees’ as well as your own, here’s how you can find me:
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 07903 795027