In case nobody said this already, welcome to National Mentoring Month! This is the time where we celebrate the power of building relationships among leaders and their teams through mentorship. And one of the best things mentors can do is to cultivate a sense of confidence in each and every one of their team members.
It’s an interesting question to ask yourself – am I building the confidence of the people on my team? Confidence might not be something we often think about as leaders but it’s critically important to success. What makes powerful leaders is having powerful people on their teams. Leaders who understand that their power comes from those who are assured and willingly follow are keen to invest in confidence-building actions with every member of their team.
Excellent leaders individualize their approach to each member of the team. With that said, here are a number of general ways – “rules” to follow, if you will – to build confidence as you mentor. Some of these will be more effective than others depending on the person being led.
Believe in people. When a leader believes in someone more than the person may even believe in themselves, it instills confidence.
Make sure people have time to prepare. Typically, the more prepared someone is, the more they can relax and concentrate on the task at hand. Being relaxed when doing your work leads to confidence.
Offer stretch goals. Well-tailored stretch goals incrementally create wins. Those continual wins build confidence.
Normalize making mistakes. Anyone who experiments or stretches is not going to get it right every time. Recognizing that just about every error can be fixed provides the confidence for people to reach further to achieve goals.
Dissect successes. Many times, when people succeed, we recognize them. That in itself is good, but it’s even better to discuss the success and shine a light on what the person did well so they can repeat it or transfer it to another task.
Affirm people. Making sure we consistently recognize and affirm people for their good work is one of the basic ways to build confidence. Another point here is to affirm people for who they are. Being an accepted member of the team also builds confidence.
Leverage strengths. Knowing what people enjoy and are naturally good at and then positioning them to do more of it drives accomplishments, which builds confidence.
Like every aspect of excellent leadership, this one requires attention and intentionality. Staying acutely aware of each person’s level of confidence is foundational to leading people to triumphant outcomes. Building that foundation is what makes for great mentor relationships, after all.
With that in mind, consider asking each person on your team a question like, “At work, what gives you confidence?” This simple question may give you important insight into what each person needs to realize the belief that anything they attempt is possible. And what could be better for the success of the credit union than employees with confidence, right?
Have a wonderful National Mentoring Month, and may you lead with confidence too!