Sometimes, an employee will make a mistake that shakes their confidence. When this occurs, they may mistrust their own judgment or instincts in a way that impacts their productivity.
While taking the time to do a “gut check” is important, a lingering loss of confidence may turn a short-term error into a long-term problem. If you are looking for ways to restore an employee’s lost confidence:
- Consult with Human Resources. Explain your concerns and review any relevant policies.
- Meet privately with the employee. Outline your concern within the context of their work performance. Sample language: “You’ve seemed less confident in your work lately. I’m concerned that this cautious approach may be impacting your ability to meet individual and team goals.”
- Listen. Give the employee time to explain their perspective. If the employee is struggling to find the right words, use active listening skills, such as nodding or saying things like “go on,” to build rapport and create a sense of safety.
- Express confidence. Remind the employee that everyone makes mistakes. Tell them that they are still a valued member of your team. Sample language: “I know it can be disheartening when you make an error. However, I value your contributions to our workplace, and so do your colleagues.”
- Make a plan. If the employee seems uncertain about how to respond to a particular problem or situation, review policies or make a list of “best practices” in that circumstance. If necessary, refer the employee to remedial training. Sample language: “Let’s break the situation down step by step and review what you can do differently.”
- Refer the employee to organizational resources. If the employee’s actions violated workplace policy, consider making a performance referral.
- Follow up. Give the employee some time to settle back into their routine before checking on their progress. In some instances, a casual conversation may make sense, while in others, you may want to schedule a meeting. Review the improvements you have observed as well as any lingering concerns. Sample language: “I wanted to see how you are feeling about your progress. Here is what I have noticed.”