Do you drag through the day on some tasks, while others make you come alive? Possibly you are struggling with confidence to accomplish that impossible task, or perhaps you can choose to delegate it to someone who would love it.
What is happening when confidence holds us back? We want our work to have value in contributing to others. The need for meaning and purpose is a never-ending journey. Sometimes the desire of managers to feel in control, behaviors attributed to time pressures and fear, will be discouraging when the focus is not on building confidence in our team.
‘Self-belief is the lifeblood of performance at work,’ says John Whitmore in his keystone body of work, Coaching for Performance. When people are struggling in their work or disengaged, we have to ask why. This stems back to our value of contributing and lack of a support system to help bring talent and skills to fruition.
We have to thank the young population coming into the workforce who are more curious of training and development opportunities and management style that can be expected. What happens often is that there may not be a support system for self-belief in the workplace.
We are demanding higher standards and look to our own criteria in which to measure ourselves rather than how others see us. Coaching is effective in supporting the higher standards that people today are striving for but gets sidelined in the short term when the interest of corporate needs supersedes its people.
How can managers and business owners take steps to provide a support system for their team and even themselves working alongside them? Understanding job security and quality of life in the workplace have a high priority for many people, you can adopt methods that support the self-belief in others. Here are several actions everyone can do to strengthen confidence and improve performance.
Redefine Time to Achieve Work-Life Balance
Today people want work-life balance among work, family and recreational activities. I have found that the employee focused company is most interested in your well being and will encourage you to utilize your time to achieve it.
To achieve balance, it is necessary to manage our time in ways that allow us to fulfill these needs. A time managements system developed by Dan Sullivan, president of The Strategic Coach, offers a way to help redefine time into: Focus Days, Buffer Days, and Free Days.
On a Focus Day, you are spending 80 percent of your time operating in your primary expertise. This would allow you to focus on what you do best and are the happiest doing what you love. Scheduling more focus days for yourself and helping others to do the same is the goal to help your organization achieve greater results.
On a Buffer Day, you are spending time to prepare for a focus day or free day, like conducting field research, joining a webinar to learn a new skill, or training others on your team in using the new software. Grouping buffer activities on the buffer day helps to free up time to spend when it is a focus day or free day.
On a Free Day, this is a 24-hour period where you free yourself of work activities, turn off your devices, and enjoy resting and rejuvenating yourself. Spend time gardening, riding a bike, taking the kids to the beach, entertaining friends, and even taking a nap. When you take time away from work, you become more productive when you are back at work. Scheduling more free days and using vacation days will give you a greater balance between work and personal life activities.
Know the Value You Bring
As mentioned when people are disengaged or struggling to perform their work, there has to be a support system to help those who need training or coaching.
An article published in HBR, “How to Build Confidence” is particularly relevant to building a support system. Presented in the case study, Know the Value You Bring, describes a female product design manager named Julie at Facebook who was struggling to express her ideas. Julie was among the minority because of the gender gap of male to female computer scientists and she felt unsure of herself.
In feedback from Julie’s HR manager, she suggested she take an Op-Ed workshop that could potentially give her the tools to voice her opinion. Consequently, she was published in The New York Times and it gave her the confidence she needed to express her ideas.
Acknowledge Your Accomplishments
Bragging is often frowned upon and thought of as self-centered. However, when people learn to talk about themselves in positive ways, it becomes a way to own and project the qualities of our strengths.
A case study in Chicken Soup for the Soul is about Frank Szymanski, a Notre Dame football team member in the 1940s who was called as a witness to testify in a civil suit. After telling the judge he was a center, the judge asked, “Are you good?”
Frank replied, “Sir, I’m the best center Notre Dame has ever had.”
Frank’s coach, Frank Leahy sitting in the courtroom was surprised and asked him after why he made such a statement. Frank replied, “I hated to do it, but I was under oath.”
This story exemplifies why many of us do not brag, except when we’re under oath. The practice I suggest is to create a culture of pride. In my certification, I learned to help participants acknowledge their accomplishments using a short bragging exercise called the Pride Line.
The Pride Line is performed in a group setting. Each participant takes a turn to stand and make a statement about their performance at work that their proud of. The statement would start with “I am proud that I…” Some suggested themes may include work life, personal life, and something someone has learned to do in the last five years.
When you create a safe space for everyone to share their beliefs, accomplishments, and ideas, it allows them to work and communicate at a higher standard and ultimately achieve greater performance.
Are you a manager or business owner with great ideas or accomplishments you’re proud of? I am regularly searching for people like you to interview. See a sample interview. Please contact me if you’re interested at firstname.lastname@example.org.