Business performance and engagement improves when your team feels safe and confident. It also reduces absenteeism and staff turnover.
So, how can you start building a workplace that fosters safety and confidence?
Leadership expert, Simon Sinek, says in one of his Ted Talk (When employees don't feel safe), we are forced to spend our own time and energy to protect ourselves from each other, which inherently weakens the organisation. When we feel safe inside the organisation, we will naturally combine our talents and our strengths and work tirelessly to face the dangers outside and seize the opportunities."
Here are three simple steps that you can start to do to build a confident and high performing team at work:
Step 1: Build a psychologically, safe working environment.
According to Amy Edmondson, (a leading Harvard Business School psychological safety researcher), psychological safety in the workplace is important to improve collaboration and teamwork; "feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea." [https://www.jstor.org/stable/2666999?origin=JSTOR-pdf&seq=1]
When your employees feel psychologically safe, they'd be more willing to take risks around their team members. They will be confident that no one will reprimand them for coming up with new ideas or admitting mistakes.
In the book, Black Box Thinking, Matthew Syed highlighted that mistakes are the key to success. [https://www.director.co.uk/2392-matthew-syed-analysing-mistakes-is-key-to-success/]
Step 2: Building confidence takes consistency and persistence
Psychological safety can't be achieved overnight. It takes time and much practice to build it. The initial step to success is to create the habits of bringing out the best from your team. For example, when an employee reaches out and asks for your help, a go-to line to build his/her confidence is: "What do you think we should do?" encouraging conversation and discussion. You are giving your employees a voice to the company as they express their opinions and ideas.
In a research study entitled: Psychological Safety: The History, Renaissance, and Future of an Interpersonal Construct - "Upward communication can be a vital force in helping contemporary organisations learn and succeed; by speaking up to those who occupy positions to authorise actions, employees can help challenge the status quo, identify problems or opportunities for improvement, and offer ideas to improve their organisations' well-being."
If you use this line every time they come to you, they will eventually build self-confidence. They'll ask themselves first before they come to you. The conversation will improve from "I think we have a problem, what should we do?" to "I think we may have a problem... however I've found a workaround. Do you mind if we brainstorm this?"
And over time, their confidence will grow.
The innovation will improve.
The business will prosper.
Step 3: Reward and Recognition can go along way
There are many ways on how you can reward and recognise your employees. As a leader, it's essential to know who they are and what their drivers are.
A simple and straightforward guide that can help you recognise your employee is Brian Tracy's "Three A's of Building Employee Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence" [https://www.briantracy.com/blog/leadership-success/three-a-of-building-employee-self-esteem-and-self-confidence/]
Recognising the work that your employees have done reinforces positive behaviour and builds their self-confidence.
Approval refers to deliberate praise given to a recipient. Acknowledging wins in a group setting has a significant impact on your employees. For example, you can have a celebratory lunch every last Friday of the month to celebrate all the wins and acknowledge people for their hard work and effort. This will make them feel valued. It also builds a sense of belonging and loyalty within the team and company.
Lastly, focusing on your employees and being there for them when they need you. You can comment along the lines of; "I know things are very hard now, but you're doing a fantastic job."
By following these three simple steps, you can build a psychologically safe and high-performing team.
What actions are you going to take responsibility for to develop your team?
If you would like to go deeper, contact us on 1300 114 818 to have a private and confidential conversation on your business needs and how you can move forward.