Employee Self-Belief

April 2, 2019

Employee Self-Belief

If you have employees who don’t try hard enough, who keep asking questions for answers they should already know, who constantly seem nervous and unsure, they’re almost certainly plagued by low self-belief.  It’s not that they can’t do the job; it’s that they don’t believe they can.  The issue is one of confidence rather than skill.

Cultivating self-belief among staff leads to a range of positive outcomes.  These have now been quantified in fresh Australian research published in the International Journal of Human Resource Management.  The scholars found the performance of employees, as measured by their ability to secure appointments with potential customers and to then make a sale at those meetings, varied by 37% when high levels of self-belief were present.

But I guess that goes without saying.  It’s obvious that possessing a high degree of self-belief makes people more likely to invest greater effort into their work and to feel as though their actions make a difference.  The question for you becomes: how can you as their leader make a difference to their level of self-belief?  Consider these suggestions:

  • Scaffold their duties so they’re only gradually introduced to harder tasks.
  • Ask them to teach others what they themselves can do well.
  • Include questions related to self-belief in staff surveys.
  • Provide timely recognition for each achievement.
  • Express confidence when they most need to hear it.
  • Frame mistakes as positive learning experiences.
  • Assign a mentor who can cultivate greater levels of trust.
And when running training programs, it’s probably a good idea to assess their effectiveness not just based on whether essential skills were developed, and not just whether your team had a good time, but by whether their confidence has increased as a result.  Because being able to transfer those learning outcomes into higher rates of objective work performance is dependent entirely on an individual’s belief that they actually can.