How to instil confidence in your employees

Following last month’s vote of no confidence by Conservative MPs against Prime Minister Theresa May in Westminster, we caught up with James Calder, CEO at Distinct Recruitment to discuss what ways directors and managers can instil confidence in their workforce.

You are only as good as your people and people who are low on confidence will inevitably not perform at the highest level. Confidence is key in everything we do and whether it’s playing sport, performing on stage, speaking at an event or doing your job, having a high level of confidence will help deliver better outcomes. In fact, increased confidence can often help elevate people above those with more talent.

With this in mind, here are five things leaders can focus on to instil confidence in their teams:


Having clear and regular communication across your organisation is key, humans are naturally curious and want to know what is happening in the organisation where they work. If you don’t articulate performance, vision or issues clearly, your people could come to their own conclusions and this can often be negative.

Poor communication can lead to members of staff reading into what they think is happening in the organisation and all too often come to the wrong conclusion. As a result, you can have an underlying negativity around something which isn’t true. It’s also worth remembering that if you manage the communication of messages or notices, it is done under your control and will mitigate the risk of rumours. Whereas, if your staff communicate through themselves, the message will more often than not be dramatised and incorrect. The confidence of your people will only grow in a positive and open working environment.


Where possible involve your people in any decision making or tasks – not only can you achieve a lot more as a collective team, but you will also encourage engagement and increased confidence. The confidence of your team will typically grow when they are given the chance to showcase their skills and contribute to a plan that is geared towards the success of the organisation.


Both positive and constructive feedback can help to build confidence and should be encouraged at all levels across your business. It’s important to recognise people doing things well and spot it there and then – don’t waiting for a one to one or an annual appraisal. Who doesn’t like to be told you are did well there or you are doing a good job?

Furthermore, research suggests that after trying out a new skill – like cooking, running, or playing the guitar – receiving praise seems to improve the brain’s ability to remember and repeat that skill, improves confidence as a result. Where feedback is negative, you should make it clear that it is ok to make a mistake. Key learnings can be made from mistakes and by communicating this message staff can use these actions in a way to instil confidence for the next time they attempt a similar task.

Ensure your people have the correct training

Start with understanding what training your staff need. Ask your people what help or training they think they need, where are the holes in their experience and skills? Again, this approach links to involvement – those who feel involved in the decision making around their training will feel more empowered and confident than someone who has an irrelevant training plan that is forced onto them and could be a waste of time. Additionally, better trained people will be better prepared and feel more confident and able to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

Celebrate success

Ensure you celebrate achievements and don’t limited this to big significant wins. In the same way you spot people doing things well, be sure to keep an eye out for any spot small achievements in your organisation and celebrate them. These plaudits don’t need to come in the form of over the top champagne popping, it could be a simple email or announcement to the rest of the business to recognise the success and thank your people. Alternatively, you may of course have something that warrants a champagne moment or a large party.