When employees successfully master a task, their self-confidence grows. In the future, they will not only solve this task on their own initiative and more quickly, but also better. Their personal performance will increase.
Interestingly, this success also influences work attitudes, creativity, personal well-being and social interaction skills. And they become more curious, more open to new things. Conclusion: encourage employees step by step with new tasks. In this article, I will summarize how you, as leaders, shape the development process of your employees in a positive way rather than interrupting it. The focus is on developing self-confidence. Here are some practical tips validated by psychological research:
Let employees work on tasks that they do best. This will make them even better and increase their self-confidence in taking on new tasks. The prerequisite for this, however, is that you and your management team or your “tribal elders” regularly deal with the development of the employees and jointly determine the next development steps (tasks, projects, negotiations, management tasks, etc.). If there are no new opportunities for development, employees become bored. Self-confidence remains, but performance drops - not the best prerequisites for further positive cooperation!
Build an honest picture of your employees. Who is good at what? Who fears what? Who avoids what, when and how? Only when you know the answers will you be able to convince employees step by step to leave their comfort zones, take a different path and learn something new. Studies show that employees are most likely to be persuaded by a person they respect. Important: Observe and give feedback, because it has a stronger and more lasting effect than bonus payment, promotion and status symbols.
Build a “training camp”. The more often employees can practice something in a protected environment, the easier it is for them to show what they have learned in everyday life. For example, imagine an online language laboratory: The more often you practice the French irregular verbs, the greater the probability that you will use them in a conversation with French colleagues. So if you lead a young team leader and notice that she is avoiding an upcoming conflict, don’t push her into this conflict, but train her to talk (without patronizing her!) or rely on peer-learning. This doesn’t take long: 3 times 5 minutes (including feedback). This is too tedious for you? Then remember that through this micro-intervention you will also promote the self-confidence of your team leader for other leadership tasks - and that you will ultimately have less work and more time for other things.
Bring an expert together with your employee so he/she can observe and learn. This alone increases the courage to dare something new. The expert will intervene if something goes wrong. What we know from driving training, you can and must implement in everyday life. In this way you have existing know-how transferred AND you give your expert a chance to let go and take on new roles or tasks. Hence, you develop several people at the same time.
Take care of your employees. Make yourself aware of whether employees are “doing well”, i.e. whether they are and will remain mentally and physically healthy. This is an essential prerequisite for them to dare something new. As obvious as this is, I often observe leaders looking away when an employee is not well, hoping that a colleague will take care of it. This is not only (morally) wrong, but avoiding prevents personal growth of the leader in dealing with emotions in a professional environment.
You should make sure that employees do not become overconfident and careless despite their successes. This makes them less cautious and may lead to unnecessary mistakes. In short, sustained success in the same task is dangerous. Set the bar higher.
If employees are too strongly guarded, they will make their success mentally smaller. Nothing could have gone wrong anyway. Too much support can weaken the inner drive. In short: Throwing people into cold water is ok, but not letting them swim alone.
Demand a lot. Too small development steps do not pose a challenge and employees cannot sufficiently value their own success. In short, it must hurt. Yes, it does.
Conclusion: Employees who trust themselves are more open to new ideas and dare to take a path even in the face of uncertainty. You can strengthen this self-confidence - simply, directly, daily: give feedback!