I recall watching a “live via satellite” presentation by then GE Chairman, Jack Welch, and being struck by a point he made. He said that a significant part of his job was to make his direct reports feel more confident. Why did his resonate? It was because the people that reported to Jack were “captains of industry” and accomplished CEOs and yet he felt that their confidence could be enhanced. He went onto say that he had noticed that more confidence leads to better decisions and higher performance, in general.

I worked with an executive team – providing 360 degree feedback and doing leadership development action planning just a few months ago, and the same thing occurred. Some of the team members disclosed that self-confidence was an area requiring attention. Again, I had incorrectly assumed that this would not be the case given their seniority and my perception of their abilities.

Leaders must find meaningful and appropriate ways to make their people feel confident in their roles. Coaches of professional athletes have known this forever. Whilst many confidence-building strategies exist, an often neglected one is to tell others why they are great in their roles, to show real appreciation for their strengths and the results they achieve.

The Gallup Employee Engagement research suggests that it needs to occur every seven working days! Providing recognition frequently – irrespective of how senior the person is – makes an impact.

Nic Tsangarakis, Principal