Leadership – How to Cultivate your Team’s Confidence
by Mark Shead
As a leader you need to cultivate and build your team’s confidence. Your team should have confidence in them self as well as confidence in your leadership skills. In general people will judge the probability of future success based on past performance. As you work with your team you will build a consistent history based on past successes and failures. If you maintain a good track record of success you will create a sense of optimism that future projects will also be successful. If you have a record of disappointment, your team will probably view any new projects as having a high chance of failing.
It is the job of the leader to select projects that will contribute to an overall sense of success within his team. By starting with projects that the team all believes will be successful a leader is able to raise the level of confidence for the next project. Over time the confidence of a team can be built to a point that it can complete a project that would have been a failure previously. A series of projects can be completed easily and successfully when they are ordered in such a way to build confidence while the same projects can all be complete failures when done in a different order.
The first project should very easy. Historically nations have built monuments to remind them of their success. While it might not be appropriate to create a sculpture or triumphal arch for every project, some projects serve as trophies themselves. Once a team has had some success, the difficulty of their projects can increase drastically. When leadership attempts to paint a failure as if it was really a success or just hide it completely it often amplifies the failure instead of minimizing it.
Ignoring this gradual approach to more and more difficult projects is on of the major reason leaders fail. Obviously the market forces and other driving factors of an organization may make it impossible to do things in the best possible order. But the skilled leader should be able to take larger projects and break them down into tasks that are very doable. In this way you can achieve the organizations immediate goals and still give your team the ability to build confidence even when you don’t have complete control over what needs done next or enough ramp up time to do things in the way you would prefer.
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