Studies show that confidence increases productivity at work. Self-confidence causes you to choose more challenging tasks, which make you stand out amongst your peers. According to a study by the Journal of Economic Psychology titled Self-Esteem and Earnings, your level of confidence is at least as important as how smart you are when it comes to how much money you make. In fact, self-esteem can affect salary as much as cognitive ability. Confident people naturally create a more cohesive workplace environment; they celebrate the accomplishments of others as opposed to insecure individuals who try to steal the spotlight and criticize others in order to prove their worth. So, if confidence has been established as strong predictor of income and productivity, how can you create a confidence-boosting environment for your team?
1. Reasonable Expectations
Set reasonable expectations for your employees. Set the bar where it really is on an individual basis, as opposed to universal standards that may not be met. In other words, redefine what it means to be competent and highlight the small incremental gains needed to build a bridge from current achievement to future potential. Focus on small wins each day; authentic confidence is a result of success, not a cause.
2. Interpreting Fear or Failure
Consider retraining the brain on how to interpret fear of failure. When facing a daunting task that incites insecurity, replace negative thoughts of intimidation with positive ones relating to the opportunity at hand. You can ask your employees things like, “I know this is a big project to tackle – what are you most excited about?” or “What are you most interested in learning as a result of taking on this new assignment?” Adrenalin is the same for fear and for excitement; by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, you let adrenalin work for you instead of against you.
3. Learning from Failure
Focus on learning from failures. Believing in yourself is good; forgiving yourself is better. Even the most successful, competent people are constantly making mistakes – that’s how we learn. Learn to see failure in a positive light, keep a running list of lessons learned along the way. Every time you make a mistake, write down what you learned and how you will avoid replicating the mistake in the future. Once it’s written down, you can let it go! It seems that confident people tend to edit out the memory of their failures and choose to run the highlight reel of their successes. That optimism is what gives them the ability to stay the course and not buckle when times get tough or challenges arise.
4. Nurture Competence
Finally, keep in mind that confidence and competence are closely related. In nature, plants either grow or decompose; they do not stay the same. In an organization, nourishment is supplied by the broad term of training, but a more accurate term is learning. What is being done within your organization to foster learning, growth, and new perspectives each week?
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