We all know that if we have a team of highly confident, high performing individuals, then our jobs as leaders are going to be exponentially easier, don’t we? So why is it that it seems so hard to achieve?
I know you have probably tried delegating in the past, and maybe it hasn’t worked out quite the way you had hoped. So what happens next is then there is an opportunity to delegate, you don’t rush enthusiastically to do that. In fact, it is more than possible that you might have thought it would be quicker, easier and have a more predictable outcome to do it yourself.
Does that sound familiar?
Well it is completely understandable but also a downhill spiral to nowhere land. You see confidence is a two-way street. What I mean by that is that it can be both a virtuous and a vicious circle. When you have a manager who has confidence in their team you will find that the team also has confidence in the manager. And the opposite is also true.
Managers who do not have confidence in their team will find that their teams likely have little trust and confidence in their managers.
You might think that this situation arises naturally out of results. And sometimes that is the case. However, the true leader is one who instills confidence in their teams BEFORE ‘they deserve’ it.
The benefits are enormous.
Once your team has confidence in themselves and in you, barriers and obstacles seem to disappear as your team take responsibility for solving problems. And that leaves you with the precious luxury of time to invest in the parts of the job where you can have the most impact – working ON the business rather than IN it. Developing your people and yourself.
So how do you instill confidence, especially where someone has ‘failed’ before or in situations where you have a new team or a new team member who may not have the competence to deliver on the project they want work on?
Well there are a number of things you can do. Firstly, talk to your people so you understand their aspirations, their limitations, their current skills and their potential. Next delegate in small steps. Make sure they have the training or information they need to complete step one, before you give them step two.
Play to their strengths.
Give people tasks or projects which make use of their natural skills or interests. People are more likely to be able to be successful at a new task if it plays to the skills they already have or those they are very motivated to acquire.
Along with this goes an important factor. You must be prepared to allow them to fail. As long as they learn from their mistakes. This is a key reason why you are well advised to delegate in small steps. If someone makes a mistake on a small step it is often retrievable and not fatal. Assign someone an entire project in an area they haven’t covered before and leave them to it – and wait for the fall out!
Praise Where Praise Is Due
It is really important to notice when your people are doing stuff right. If you can notice and publicly praise their achievements and their progress, they will want to continue to do things that make you notice and praise them. It’s just human nature. Don’t fudge this. Great job – won’t motivate someone the 4th or 40th time you say it. Be specific. Let them know that you have noticed what they have actually done. The specifics make it special.
Remember that confidence is a two way street, but a street that you, as the leader, are in control of. You can choose to believe in your staff and create the time to help them develop their confidence in themselves and in you. Or you can continue to do everything yourself because it’s ‘easier’. It’s up to you!
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At Transforming Performance, we believe that there are 6 crucial areas of Leadership: focus and direction, mindset, engagement, skills, impact and systems.
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Jan Sargent is co-Director with Julie Hutchison of Transforming Performance, a consultancy which provides businesses with expert support in Leadership Coaching, Team Development and Performance Coaching, Executive Coaching, Mentoring, Training and Behavioural Profiling and help in getting the best from you and your people. If you’d like to have a chat and a coffee to discuss how we can help you, we’d love to talk. Call us on:
07947 823842 or 01722 484155