Heather Foley explains how to increase your self-confidence and gain the trust of your team.
Confidence is a crucial commodity for progress in any business – especially in the contact centre, where quick thinking is key to handling an unexpected influx of incoming calls.
A display of confidence is also important when trying to gain the trust of your team, who may begin to disregard your ideas if they feel you have anything less than complete conviction in them and yourself.
Like many things in life, confidence is a skill – and like all skills, it can be developed and honed.
Following a few straightforward steps can not only help you to appear more confident but can actually help you to feel more confident too.
1. Think through the scenarios
You’re probably aware of the sort of situations that can make you feel nervous or anxious, such as important meetings or big decisions. To relieve anxiety, and to encourage confidence, preparation here is key.
- What do you really think about the situation?
- What is likely to happen?
- What is going to be asked of you?
- How would you like to be seen?
By thinking through the scenarios and identifying what you really think, much of the unknown is removed, which, in turn, reduces anxiety levels, allowing you to feel more confident.
A useful trick at this planning stage is to ask yourself ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ Almost always, the consequences are never as bad or irreversible as you may think. This knowledge can also help to deal with nerves.
2. The number one underrated skill
Listening is a very underrated skill. Some wonderful things can happen when you listen intently.
Firstly, your team will interpret you as being wise and quietly confident. Secondly, by really listening, you can better understand any given situation and make more informed and successful decisions.
This, in itself, can inspire confidence in yourself and others. Thirdly, it gives you the time and space to prepare your response in a calm, measured and clear way.
3. Ask the right questions
Active questioning is also a vital skill.
By asking great questions, not only will you obtain more relevant information on which to base any decisions, but you’ll also appear to be more incisive and confident.
4. Say and do nothing
People hate silences. That’s why they’re often referred to as awkward. But if you observe closely, you’ll notice that it’s often the really confident people who are most comfortable in silence.
Others interpret such people as being considered and thoughtful. Become comfortable with the silence and use the time to prepare what you want to say and how you want to say it. You’ll appear confident and in control.
5. Be definitive
Nothing in life is 100% sure or guaranteed. Yet confident people assert their opinions as if they are a certainty.
In truth, who wants to agree to a plan when the manager proposes there’s a good chance it won’t work out?
People know that there aren’t certainties, but they need to hear conviction in a plan or idea if they’re to follow it.
6. Admit mistakes
Similarly, be the first to admit your own mistakes. If you’ve made a wrong call, be clear with your team in explaining why it was flawed and describe what you plan to do to rectify the situation.
Your team will be more confident in your ability to analyse errors and move on in a determined manner.
Confidence is vital. Luckily, for those of us who may not have it, it can be acquired. And the first step is believing that you can be more confident.
Take inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi: “if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
Heather Foley is a consultant at etsplc.com, a UK-based HR consultancy and technology company