How To Build A Culture Of Confidence
We talk a great deal about leaders having confidence, but are we missing the bigger picture?
We agree that a leader should have confidence – after all, who wants an unsure leader? – that confidence can only carry a team so far. If the leader can’t instill confidence in their people, they will succumb to pressure or discouragement in the grueling pursuit of their goals. Confidence can’t be borrowed, but must be cultivated through the organization.
Therefore, a confident team is built from confident individuals. Here are some effective ways to develop that:
Confidence in your people. How did this last 3 Super Bowl Champions – Broncos, Patriots, and Seahawks – attain the coveted Lombardi trophy? Their coaches told the players they believed in them, and over the course of the season, the players realized that as well. Great leaders not only trust their people, they tell them that at every opportunity. People only grow as much as the input of praise and trust given, so be generous (and sincere) in making your team feel assured in themselves.
Confidence in your mission. Do you truly believe in what you’re working towards? Do your people know that? And do they themselves have that same level of confidence in the mission at hand? Keep directing your peoples focus, discussions, and efforts towards the mission and encourage them to help direct their colleague’s focus towards that end.
Confidence in your values. First off, your people must know your core values. Not only by communicating them, but emodying them. When an employee embodies your core values, they will live them out. When the whole team embodies the core values, then that confidence in them grows, because of the internal commitment everyone has, which is usually due to the inherent values they believe and come to your organization for.
Confidence in your training. The story goes of a naval admiral who toured the bases during peacetime and was astonished to find the fleets ill-prepared for action and the morale low. He had lost hope in the branch until he came across a naval base that was fully in order, well-prepared, and were attentive and had high morale. When asked why they where engaged that way during peacetime, they responded that their job was to be trained and at the ready at any given moment. They were confident in their training and knew that they could act and commit to any mission instantly. Create a confident and well-trained team that is ready for any project and any challenge.
Confidence in your execution. While preparation is key, the ability to properly execute is just as critical. The best teams can have great practices but if they fail to execute properly during the game, then all the practice through the week means nothing. Have your people showcase how they can do their job, how they can improve, and how they can show others. Build execution of the fundamentals (whether presentations, recipes, medical procedures, or sales pitches) and exercise it daily to ensure confidence takes hold in the day-to-day tasks.
Confidence in your strategy. Do your strategic plans comprise of reasonable “stretch goals” that everyone feels they can contribute to and attain? Does the next product rollout or M&A align with your mission or is everyone unclear of where it’s taking them and the company? If your strategy cannot instill confidence as to where you’ll be positioned when it culminates, then it’s time to rethink it and structure a better plan that puts confidence in your leadership, people, clients, and industry.
Confidence in the ability to adjust to adverse results. How you as a leader can hold confidence when plans unravel and crises occur will go a long way in keeping your team intact and trusting in the ultimate outcome of events. Think of the character Gene Kranz in the movie “Apollo 13” and how he kept everyone driven to believe they can get the stranded astronauts back to earth safely. Keeping your people calm, cool, and confident to see things through locks in a trust that will whether virtually any circumstance.
Confidence in your care for your people. That old adage “People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care” is so true. When your team knows that you have their best interests at heart across the board – career development, work-life balance, and giving value to their voice – they will commit to the organization’s cause more due to the trust and security you’ve built into the culture. Make your people confident in your care for them.
Confidence in integrity and openness. This last part is the most critical. If your people have no confidence in leadership – such as finding out directions and agendas that aren’t above board, strategies that affect their jobs without input, or just unprofessional leadership improprieties – the very foundation of your organization will be on shaky ground. The companies with the best confidence culture have high levels of openness and integrity, and as a result employee engagement and trust. Structure your culture on these two items and everything else will align and work together.
As a leader, it is also your goal to seek for confidence cracks, those parts of culture or even individuals that lack confidence in order to shore them up and deepen the trust across the company. As a chain is only as good as it’s weakest link, confidence is also only as strong as it’s weak point. Look for opportunities to build confidence daily and strengthen your organization for greater success.
Do you have a confidence strategy that works for you? Please comment below and share with us!