by Melanie Greene

How can I have confidence in others?

Some managers find it hard to be confident in other people’s ability either to complete a job or to do it to their required standard. This can have a number of detrimental effects on their performance and that of other people:

  • They fail to delegate to others and become overworked, stressed and irritable
  • There is no time to think strategically or creatively, as they are bogged down in doing things they should delegate or they waste their time solving other people’s problems
  • Team members are not developed as they are not given new tasks and responsibilities to carry out
  • Team members lack confidence as either they are not given responsibility or they are continually interrupted by their manager, who interferes in how they are carrying out tasks.

Managers who don’t trust others believe the problem lies with the other person, when the reality is that the lack of confidence in others says more about the manager’s personality, confidence levels and ability to manage and communicate with others than it does about the other person’s capabilities.

By changing how you communicate and work with others, you can enhance your working relationship with them and begin to build up a two-way trust between you.

Ask yourself

  • What is needed for me to be more confident about this individual’s performance?
  • What do I need to see, hear or feel to know that they are on track or have succeeded?
  • Do they know and understand what is expected from them? (One way of checking that they understand is to ask them to run through how they are going to approach a task.)
  • Am I allowing them to do things in their own way and style, which might be different from mine, but will still result in a successful outcome?
  • Do they have the skills, abilities and confidence to carry out this task successfully?
  • What support, coaching or training can I or others provide them?
  • Am I giving them the responsibility they need to succeed?
  • Do they have the potential to develop and succeed?
  • What are my options if they do not cooperate?
  • Is it clear as to what will happen if they fail to deliver?

If you have asked yourself all of the above questions and acted on the answers, but their performance is still below par, you may then need to ask yourself whether they are in the right job. Before you consider this, however, there is one final question to ask yourself: are you suffering from the ‘tyranny of perfectionism’, which can result in you not trusting others to do things to your perhaps unrealistic standards? (See Do I need to be perfect to be confident?)

You might also find it helpful to look at the topic on Delegation.