Failing Forward and Other Ways to Support Women Employees

How managers can create a supportive environment for women on their teams.
Supporting Female Employees

Most people will work an average of 65,000 hours in their lifetime so feeling confident and accepted in the workplace is something we all strive for.  Being confident to do your role and share your views influences your productivity and your opportunities to grow and develop. 

No matter how smart and skilled your employees are, if they lack confidence that they can make a difference or that their voice will be heard, they’ll perform below their potential.  This can then have a knock-on effect on their mental health.

How can you support colleagues who don’t feel confident and comfortable in the workplace?  Here’s my tips to encourage confidence in team members:

Connect with them

You can’t support someone if you don’t know them so making a genuine connection and getting to know employees is key.  Understanding what makes them tick and where they are lacking in confidence will help you support them in the right areas.

Assign a mentor

Having someone to work closely with, learn from and just chat to will help unconfident employees.  Try and connect people with similar interests so they have a common ground to build on.  As their confidence grows reverse the process and get them to mentor new starters and colleagues.

Set them up to win

People lack confidence when they don’t feel in control of situations so giving a detailed brief and helping people prepare will give them confidence.  Encourage managers to spend a bit of extra time giving a full clear brief and ensuring people feel well prepared.

Encourage autonomy and opportunities to lead projects

Giving people autonomy and a project to run themselves is a great way to build confidence.  Don’t throw unconfident people in the deep end – they’ll drown.  Instead give them a framework that provides support and regularly check in with them.

Encourage Fail Forward

If you are feeling uncomfortable at work any mistake, however small will make team members feel inadequate so ensure there’s not a ‘blame culture’ within your team.  Work through challenges and mistakes with employees and come from a place that recognises that failure is an essential part of learning and growth.

Give praise

We thrive on praise so recognition for achievement however small is going to help people feel more confident and comfortable with their role and how they are perceived at work.  Make sure it comes from a genuine, authentic place otherwise people see through it and no one wants to feel like a pet project.

Anji McGrandles is a UK-based mental wellbeing expert and founder of The Mind Tribe, a workplace wellbeing consultancy.

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