Written by Katy Goshtasbi
Posted on: February 4, 2019
I remember so many times in my practice as a securities lawyer where I would sit in meetings with my supervising attorney and I was actually scared to speak up. What if I said the wrong thing? What if I sounded like an idiot? I was paralyzed with fear. The real question I should have asked myself, though, is “what if I am brilliant and can make a difference to the situation?”. That was then, this is now. I wish I knew then what I know now. Let’s talk about how you can build confidence in your employees by creating safety in your team.
Google’s famous research study, Project Aristotle, asked the question, “what makes a great team”? Their number one finding is that teams working together is very important. Most important to those contributing to a team is that they feel psychologically safe. Safety is very different for men and women. Here, we are not talking about physical safety, but rather, do you feel you can take a risk, speak up and be heard.
So, is the team dynamic building up your self-confidence or not?
So much of my research is based on the intersection of stress and self-confidence. Stress is the problem and impact of low self-confidence. Here’s a blog post about coping with stress at work.
As an employer, it is so easy to chastise employees for “getting it wrong” or not being as smart and fast as you. I know how hard this is. I am always monitoring myself with my employees. I mean, can’t they see what I see? No, not really.
That’s the beauty of diversity in the workforce: everyone is different, they bring their experiences to work, they think and process information differently and they deserve time to do it their way, within reason. Employers need self-awareness to catch themselves.
So what does this mean for you? Stop and consider:
• How are you cultivating a feeling of safety in your team?
• At meetings, do your employees truly feel like they are worthwhile enough to contribute? Do you manage the meetings in a way that EVERYONE can be heard? Gender plays a part here.
• Have you surveyed your employees anonymously to find out the truth? If not, why? The truth may hurt at first, but it is the first step to grow your team, revenues and productivity. If your employees have low self-confidence, odds are very high they are also not very productive.
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