Confidence is not just a skin-deep feeling of self-assuredness. Confidence influences how we carry ourselves, how we interact with others, and what we can achieve. In other words, it influences our ability to collaborate. Thus, in order for your leadership to enhance collaboration in the workplace, it must inspire confidence.
What do we mean by “confidence”?
Confidence is an awareness of one’s own power and the ability to rely on oneself. A confident person understands their own strengths and believes that they are enough to achieve success. High-performance teams are composed of confident individuals and the leaders who encourage them to engage with each other confidently.
Confident Collaboration is More Valuable.
When an individual is confident in their own abilities, they are empowered to be their best and contribute their strongest skills. Confident individuals contribute higher value to the company, the team, and the customers.
- Have a better understanding of their role on a team
- Make stronger contributions to team efforts
- Empower their peers to succeed with strategic handoffs
- Require less direction from leaders and act without hesitation
- Use their time wisely and more productively
- Enjoy greater job satisfaction overall
High-performance collaboration happens when task completion is strategic and team members leverage their individual strengths effectively. This requires an understanding that doing a few things to the best of our ability is more valuable than doing many things adequately.
Confidence sounds like: “I could probably do that, but I know someone who would do it more effectively.”
Lack of Confidence Sounds like: “I’ll figure it out!”
Lack of confidence can lead to Imposter Syndrome when followers don’t see their professional value. People often compensate by trying to “be helpful” and focus on how many tasks they can take on rather than what tasks they can excel at. Admitting that something is beyond the scope of their talents feels like admitting defeat.
This lack of confidence can severely impact job performance and often leads to unnecessary stress, procrastination, and an unhealthy work-life balance. Eventually, this mindset leads to burnout and job turnover.
Team Confidence Expedites Collaboration
Team confidence is a collective understanding that each person is highly capable of fulfilling their unique role on the team. Confident teams trust each other to get results, and this enhances collaboration.
Confidence creates teams that are…
- Able to leverage each other’s strengths effectively
- Focused on team success rather than competing with each other
- Able to produce stronger results for the company and customers
- Naturally inclined toward prosocial behaviors
- More autonomous and engaged with their work
- More satisfied with their team culture and work environment
A confident team consists of members who jump in where their skills are needed and let others take the reins when something falls into their realm. This expedites collaboration because there is no need to wait for permission to do the job—each person knows how to further the team’s success, so they jump right in.
We call this a “bias for action” because it allows you to move forward without hesitation. This is a hallmark of a high-performance team and a requirement for enhanced collaboration.
Creating a Culture of Collaboration
Leadership that inspires confidence on both the individual and team level fosters a collaborative team culture.
When followers are confident, another person’s success is seen as a win for the team rather than a personal loss. Team confidence encourages prosocial, or constructive, behaviors that enhance teamwork by creating a sense of unity behind shared goals and thus a desire to succeed together. High-performance teams realize there is more to be gained from lifting each other up than from trying to get ahead of each other.
So how can leaders promote confidence?
- Say it!
Acknowledgement is a step beyond gratitude that can go a long way for boosting confidence. Rather than simply thanking an individual for a job well done, acknowledge big and small wins by stating how their unique contributions impacted the outcome. When acknowledging team success, express appreciation for how everyone worked together to reach the goal– be specific!
- Show it!
You can tell your team that you believe they are capable, but your actions should prove that you feel this way. High-achieving leaders set clear goals and then trust their teams to perform. This means resisting the urge to step in and micromanage, which indirectly tells your team that you are not confident in their abilities.
- Sustain it!
As a leader, every interaction with your followers is an opportunity to reinforce confidence and a collaborative culture. Leaders of high-performance teams are intentional with their communication in every interaction to encourage and build up follower confidence. Making the most of every opportunity helps sustain the confidence that you instill in your team.
When you or your followers lack confidence in their abilities, as a leader you may feel the need to take over tasks and projects that are not the best use of your time and talents. This slows the collaborative process because we take more time to do work that we are not confident in, and it keeps us from contributing the high-value skills that we possess.
We might be able to “make it work” for some time, but eventually this will lead to dissatisfaction in our work and resentment of our team. Things run much more smoothly when everyone is empowered to do the work that suits their skillset. Collaboration becomes streamlined because roles are clear, handoffs are simplified, and everyone is happy with the work they are doing when their value is recognized.