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Most employers know the value of confident employees. Confident employees face challenges head on. They’re not afraid to troubleshoot. They require less managing, which means you can trust them to take on tasks or solve problems without turning to you. They’ll reach out to support, teach and help other employees. Employees who are confident in their ability to do their job, and in their bosses’ confidence in them, are more satisfied employees who will work harder to further the business.

So how do you bolster your employees’ confidence? Many managers rely on praise to show their confidence, but that praise can fall flat, or even make employees feel less confident if it’s generic or not followed up with actions. As with most things, your actions speak louder than your words when it comes to bolstering your confidence in employees. Here are some ways to actively build your employees’ confidence.

What You Should Do

  • Cater to their strengths.
    Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Take the time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each employee. Guide them toward work and projects that play to their strengths and play down their weaknesses.
  • Give employees more responsibility, but understand their needs.
    Giving an employee more responsibility — whether it’s asking them to head a new project, take on a new duty or mentor a new employee — is a sure way to bolster confidence. At the same time, you have to understand your employees’ needs. Some employees might jump at the opportunity of more responsibility and might run with a little directive. Freely given responsibility might intimidate other employees and cause self-doubt; provide those employees with some direction as they take on their new responsibility. Still, others won’t require direction but will like to know that they can turn back to you with any questions or to vet ideas.
  • Value your employees’ opinions.
    Employees feel confident when they know that their opinions matter. Whether it’s soliciting opinions on a particular project or decision, or having a continual policy of letting employees’ speak up during meetings, employees whose opinions are valued by management feel that they are knowledgeable about their jobs and the company’s mission, and that they play a direct role in guiding the company in the right direction.
  • Share goals and visions.
    Employees can feel confident in making decisions themselves, steering projects or advising new or less experienced employees when they understand the goals and visions for a project or for the company overall. Make sure you clearly articulate your goals when you start a new project or initiative and check in regularly with employees to let them know what the overall company vision and plan is.
  • Be specific in your praise.
    We warned that words can fall flat when it comes to bolstering confidence, but well-chosen words can, in fact, boost employee confidence. When you do praise or recognize an employee, make sure you’re being specific. Let them know exactly what they’re doing right and how it has had a positive impact on the company.

Take the time to nurture your employees’ confidence, and you will be rewarded. You’ll have employees that aren’t afraid to tackle problems and trouble shoot, that you have to manage less and who are content in their jobs and dedicated to helping your business succeed.