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28 Nov 2016

Why Employers Don’t Fret Over Building Confidence in Employees

Confidence is key to success. So, building confidence in employees should be a top priority. It’s not though. If it is, it’s usually the employee’s problem not the employer’s.

Employers don’t fret over this because they can’t measure confidence. Remember that cliché: What gets measured gets done”? Why fret over nonexistent stats? So, only important things get measured?

Measuring Confidence in Field Goal Kickers

Building confidence in employees is key to success.

Even though key to success, building confidence in employees can’t be measured so it doesn’t get done.

That’s why this Wall Street Journal article piqued my interest. It cited this statistic:

Kickers who missed a game-winning postseason kick saw a loss of effectiveness in the next season. Their made field goal percentage after that was 65.5% compared to their career averages of 80.2% before it.

In short, loss of confidence caused about a 20% decline in effectiveness. Yes, this is sports. And yes, these men are tops in their fields. Only 1.6% of college football players make the pros. Finally, yes, they failed in front of millions. I get that.

Linking Field Goals and Our Jobs

This means though that they should be better prepared to handle failure than the average worker. Moreover, who can say that on a personal level failure on the job doesn’t compare to missing a game-winning kick?

Employees lose jobs. They lose key accounts and promotions. Employees misdiagnose lives, technology, machinery and more. Their errors can mean lives. For them failure is just as bad if not worse than a missed field goal. Except rabid fans, whoever died from one?

Building Confidence in Employees Doesn’t Measure Up but Is Key

Compared to the many measurements in business, building confidence doesn’t measure up. Yet, if kickers can lose 20% effectiveness from the loss of it, we can expect employees to lose as much if not more.

This can also infect an entire organizational culture. Call it morale. A whole workforce could lose 20-40% of its effectiveness. What business can afford that?

In the end, planning and developing employees’ confidence should be part of any business. Just look at it as morale building if that helps. Regardless, people do better when they feel good about themselves.

With this, managers should learn the art of building confidence. Too many times the focus is on “improvement.” This is just doublespeak for showing employees why they aren’t great.

Finally, we need to cool the blind, cult-like approach that only sees what we can measure. It’s blinding us to a key performance indicator, the confidence our people have in themselves.

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