I recently read that yoga instructors — or any fitness instructors for the matter — have to believe in their students more than they believe in themselves. Just by doing that, students are convinced they can push themselves just enough more to improve.
Personally, I can attest to how that has helped me many times in yoga classes to try something I have never attempted before, only to realise I can do it. Each time I step on the mat, I’ll do my best to push myself just a bit more than before. That’s the yogi spirit.
Unsurprisingly, the same can be said for the professional workplace — a leader’s or manager’s confidence in the team makes all the difference. Giving colleagues the confidence and moral support can make or break a project’s outcome.
That’s not to say that a manager shouldn’t give feedback or even criticisms sometimes to help team members be more aware of their blind spots and room for improvement. Giving confidence is when the ball is in their court, and even if the odds are against them, the metaphorical thumbs up can mean a lot more than it looks.
The mental hurdle
All of us don’t take action because we’re afraid of failing, that’s plain simple. When I look back at the last time I spontaneously did something I was afraid of, it was because of the full confidence a mentor or teacher gave.
Our minds have a very good way of convincing us why not taking action is a better idea than taking risks, mostly because wait-and-see was always the safer option during the hunters and gatherers era when there’s nothing immediately threatening in front of us.
In the workplace, though, wait-and-see is still the safest option because mistakes can and will have some sort of impact on our career. With a bid of confidence from a manager, director, and even boss, can literally mean the world when tackling a tough situation.
It’s true that giving confidence alone isn’t enough, the person still has to put in the effort to make it work. However, anyone would know that the mental hurdle that’s always causing us to procrastinate or hesitate is the first step.
Just a simple pat on the back or a smile before handing the responsibility to a team member has worked, at least for me as a junior manager helping several team members. I’m also lucky to work with people who are often more capable than they think themselves to be, which gives me even more assurance to give them my confidence.
The motivation to do the best
With the bid of confidence from a manager to the right team member, he or she will be even more motivated to deliver. I recall a few times where I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but just because of the faith and trust my manager put in me, I pressed on until I performed to expectations.
The beauty is anyone can be the right person to do the job — most of us have decent education and passing exams and graduating are a lot easier than a few decades ago, but still not an easy feat if we don’t have control over our willpower and minds.
Anyone can achieve anything as long as one’s mind is set on the goal. We often just have too many distractions and fear that prevent us from progressing forward when there’s uncertainty. When a manager or leader gives that push, even if it might seem insignificant, the fire within a motivated person will just burn more fiercely.
Helping others do even better than oneself
If I have to choose one thing I learned this year that has benefited me the most, I would say it’s the fact that managers and leaders are not supposed to be the best in the team. They’re supposed to lead by example and help others achieve what they can’t alone.
And I realised that giving the trust and confidence to a less experienced team member doesn’t mean he or she can’t do well. Everyone has to start somewhere. With the right guidance and attitude, results are just a matter of time.
It’s common for leaders to underestimate team members and overestimate their own abilities. Most of the time, team members can do what leaders do, just that they’re not confident enough to attempt. A word of confidence can mean the world.