Monthly Archives: April 2021

Building Confidence

building confidenceBuilding confidence with team members as they return to work

As your team return to work, you may need to do some confidence building. If they’ve been on furlough or working from home for some time, the may need some reassurance once they return, either to their old duties, or new tasks which are now part of their role.

Whether it’s because they’ve not done something for a while, or you’re introducing something new or a different way of doing things is bound to feel a bit clunky to begin with.

And when you need to make changes to the way they do things it takes even longer to get used to the new way.

Human nature says we’ll always take the path of least resistance, so the slightest obstacle will send people back to their old comfortable way of doing it.

However, sometimes there can be a real reluctance even to have a go. There might be a number of reasons for this. But often it’s just down to a lack of confidence, especially if the new way of doing things involves a degree of risk or difficulty, at least from the employee’s perspective.

And longer term a lack of confidence will stop them getting on with tasks off their own bat, which can be both frustrating and draining for you, and have a knock on effect for colleagues and customers alike.

Here are 7 ways you can build confidence in your team members, and prevent this happening in your team:

1. Play to people’s strengths.

It’s a lot easier for you to allocate responsibility for tasks where people already excel, and the likelihood is when they are good at that task they’ll be confident and probably enjoy it.

You might need to look for the capabilities in others that they themselves may not see and help them to see these for themselves. Focusing on strengths not only boosts confidence, it enables people to shine and excel. It means complementing potential shortcomings of others in the team, contributing unique value in the eyes of colleagues and customers.

That doesn’t mean to say you don’t develop people in other areas, but avoid the temptation to make everyone mediocre at everything.

2. Establish expectations

People hate not fully understanding what’s expected of them; it can leave them hesitant and fearful of making mistakes.

It’s inevitable that some ways of working and duties will have changed. If there are duties that used to be part of their role that are now less of a priority, explain why this is. If these were tasks they did well or took a particular pride in doing, be sensitive to how you handle this, so they don’t get the impression that their previous efforts were not appreciated.

If it’s a new task ensure they understand the significance of the task, and set a clear and simple objective, and what controls such as budget, deadline, when and how any review will take place. Bear in mind, it may take them longer to begin with as people get into the task.

3. Empower

People soon pick it up if you don’t trust them or are reluctant to allocate any responsibility to them, leaving them doubting their own abilities.

Demonstrate trust by letting go. No one wants their boss breathing down their neck the whole time, and it’s frustrating for everyone when team members have to get sign off for everything.

Cut the red tape and give your team the freedom to do what they think is in the best interests of the customer.

Set clear boundaries so they understand the exceptions and when you really do need to be involved.

3. Give flexibility

Allow each of your team to adapt and adopt their own style and let them bring their own personality to the role, particularly when dealing with customers.

If they know the end result you’re looking for they often come up with better ways to get the same result.

4. Develop ‘experts’

Give ownership for areas that require specialist knowledge, so this team member becomes the go to person for this. When individuals have one or two areas to focus on specifically it encourages them to go deeper and develop their expertise, and encourages continuous improvement. This in turn can have an impact on your customer experience, when specific knowledge is required to gain the customer’s confidence.

This is not only good for people’s development it also helps the team respect other’s roles and share the burden.

5. Reassure

Let them know you are there to support them, and to come to you with later question, concerns or suggestions. Reassure them of your commitment to their safety and ongoing support.

Encourage your team by assuring them that they have the skills and knowledge. If you really are unsure of somebody’s ability to deliver what’s needed reflect on what help and support they would need in order to achieve this and focus on that instead.

Build confidence by providing positive feedback and recognition. Offer plenty of support and encouragement.

6. Learn from mistakes

When things go wrong this can knock people’s confidence. Foster a supportive culture where people can learn from their mistakes, rather than be blamed.

Encourage everyone to come forward when things haven’t gone to plan, or when there’s been a near miss. Then focus on how to avoid this happening again, not just for that team member, but for anyone else in the team.

Ask your team member(s) for their suggestions. Nine times out of ten they’ll work out for themselves the best way to avoid a repercussion.

Recognise when any improvements are made, even if things are not yet perfect!

7. Celebrate and reward success

Celebrate success so you encourage more of the same.

Establish regular opportunities and events to enable others to share their successes and achievements. This could be as simple as daily briefings where individuals talk about their successes and what others can learn from these, but add more weight to this by publicly recognising their success e.g. sharing achievements with your guests or entering them for awards.

Highlight how individual contributions have had a positive impact on the business as a whole. Recognise and reward individuals, departments or the team as a whole to demonstrate how you value their successes.

In summary

Building confidence in your team starts by demonstrating your trust. Empower individuals and the team by giving them authority to make decisions and take action. Generate a climate of confidence by drawing attention to the strengths of the team and individuals and where they complement one another rather than dwelling on shortcomings.

Related content

Blog: Learn from mistakes 

Video: How people learn

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Resourceful states

resourceful statesHow unresourceful & resourceful states influence employee engagement

When you get home from work can you normally sense what sort of mood everyone else’s in? Even when no words are spoken it’s usually pretty easy to tell. Our moods and emotions are usually evident to others from our behaviours, facial expressions and tone.

Certain emotions or unresourceful states will inevitably have a knock-on impact on everyone around us – family, friends, colleagues and customers alike. Such as worried, angry, bored, frustrated, resistant, confused, irritated, flustered, tired, impatient or distracted.

When you, your team – any of us – are in these unresourceful states, if faced with challenges the tiniest problem can lead us to frustration or aggression; the slightest failure can lead to disappointment, blame or self-doubt; a hint of rejection can lead to anger or defensiveness.

If you want your team to be: enthusiastic, flexible, motivated, interested, confident, energetic, happy, welcoming, and friendly this has to start with you.

And from a position of these resourceful states we can more readily find solutions to problems, learn from our failures and bounce back from rejection.

On the Fresh Start session I ran last week we discusses this in the context of helping your team feel positive about returning to work.

Here’s an exercise I shared with the group which might work for you too….

3 x 3

Grateful

At the start of the day write down 3 things which you are grateful for, however major or minor they may be.

Get done

Secondly write down 3 things you must get done today. These are the things that above all else you must complete, even if it’s just making one phone call to progress a project.

Achieved

At the end of the day reflect on your day and write down 3 things you’ve achieved, however small.

Do these 3 small activities every day, and see if they help make you feel good about yourself and the world. Writing them down helps bring these things into your conscious awareness.

Take action

If you only do one thing try this simple exercise for the week ahead and see for yourself if it works for you!

Related articles: One bad apple

Video: Influencing employee attitude


Reopening your business

reopening

Very best of luck if you are reopening your business today or this week and you’re welcoming back customers. I’m not sure which I’m more excited about… Going to the pub or getting my hair cut!

Of course, this is good news for your team too, and the first steps to getting back to some kind of normality.

But this is just the beginning, and what you can learn from these first few days back will stand you in good stead as your team (and customers) return over the coming weeks.

Here are 7 tips to help this go smoothly with your reopening.

1. Tune in

Keep your ears and eyes open and observe your team in action. See for yourself what’s working and what’s not. But, just as importantly, look out for any signs of stress, friction amongst the team, or where things aren’t running smoothly.

2. Talk to your customers

Capture feedback from your customers. Find out what they loved (so you can do more of the same) and what was confusing, disappointing or made them feel uncomfortable, so you can address these. Do this now while their emotions are still running high from their experience.

Many of your customers may be new, visiting you for the first time. Get them engaged to increase the likelihood of a return visit. Follow up with them to show you appreciate their business, and use this as an opportunity to let them know what you have planned for the weeks ahead.

3. Thank You

Show you appreciate your team. Thank them for any extra hours or effort they’ve put in to make your opening a success.

A thank you and an acknowledgement of a job well done is far more sincere if you’re specific about what you’re recognising. So, say what it is about their actions that you appreciate. It might be spotting them doing something that shows you they’ve made an extra effort, helped a colleague, gone out of their way to help a customer, or used their initiative to get over a challenge.

4. Team feedback

Ask for feedback from your team members. Involve everyone in your review process as they’ll often be aware of things you’ve missed.

Ask 3 questions:

  • What went well for them?
  • What didn’t work and needs attention tomorrow, next week or with phase 2 of reopening?
  • What did they find difficult or where they struggled to meet customers’ expectations?

Accept feedback with good grace, and thank them for an honest response, and agree how you will address any concerns.

5. Near misses

It’s inevitable not everything will have gone according to plan or mishaps happened. Review the things that have not gone so well. Listen to your team and flush out any other potential risky situations, particularly if they have the potential to impact the team or customer service.

Rather than dwelling on the negatives, reflect on what you and the team have learnt from these events.

Even if you think it was a one off and unlikely to happen again your team might be aware of other ‘near misses’ or situations that are almost an accident waiting to happen!

Agree what steps you can take to avoid them or minimise their impact, so they are confident they will be better prepared next time!

6. Celebrate and share successes.

Celebrate what’s gone well and create a buzz for the day, week and month ahead!

Continue to set mini goals so you and your team all see some quick wins, and keep the momentum going.

7. Play from a 10

The way you feel emotionally will influence the feelings of people around you.

Being confident, enthusiastic and energetic might not always rub off on everyone else, but if you’re not, you can’t really expect your team to be either!

Take Action

If you only do one thing – take some time out this week to sit down with your team and reflect what lessons you can take from the first few days of reopening.