People who are self-confident are happier at their jobs and are generally more productive.  And working around self-confident people can add to your cheerfulness too. How can you help others who you work with achieve self-confidence and be happier in their jobs?

Compliment Them

First of all, if you see a co-worker or subordinate doing a good job, speak up!  Compliments are always appreciated.  In fact, the person you compliment will generally feel closer to you and will actually look for things to compliment you on.  

Deal with Poor Job Performance Effectively

If, on the other hand, an employee does a poor job, an effective way to communicate this is to mention what they have done well first and then talk about the problem.  This way, the employee knows they have done at least some things well and you aren’t only pointing out the negatives.  

If employees make mistakes, the best way to help them be self-confident is to help them find a solution without blaming them.  Remember that all criticism feels violent.  There is an old saying: “Praise people in public and criticize them in private.”  Make sure you adhere to this advice.  You can ruin a work relationship by criticizing someone in front of their co-workers.  And ideally, you can gain a closer rapport by speaking to them in private. 

There is an art to correcting employees without discouraging them.  Tell them what event, behavior or performance concerns you.  Be specific about exactly what happened.  Explain to them how this creates a problem either for yourself or your organization, or both.  Ask for an explanation of anything you might be misperceiving.  

Listen to what they say, and then suggest some action to correct it.  You can involve the other person by asking, “Do you have any other ideas?”  Obtain a commitment on how they will act in the future based on your suggestion and their input.  Then tell them how you value them and their work.  

Don’t start talking about something else.  It’s better to leave them alone at this point so what you’ve discussed will sink in.  Look for opportunities to praise them in the future, especially if they act with the new behavior.

Trust Them

One of the best ways to build self-confidence in a company is to trust people to do their job well.  The owner or supervisor should advise their employees when they need assistance, but other than that, they should stay out of the way.  

Have an Open Door Policy

In addition, employees need to know there is an “open door” policy where complaints or suggestions for improvement or innovation can be safely offered.  If employees come up with a new idea, they should be rewarded and recognized, and the idea should be implemented.  If for some reason the idea can’t be implemented, the employee should receive an explanation about this.  

Trust, support and respect on every level of the company will help build self-confidence most effectively.  When these are the norm within the company, employees generally respond with fierce allegiance and enthusiasm for their job and employer.  


Make a list of the people you work with and/or supervise.  Beside each person, write whether you believe they need more self-confidence in the workplace with a “yes” or “no.”  For those with a “yes” beside their name, write exactly how you will interact with them in such a way as to increase their sense of self-confidence.  Then as you implement these, write whether they were successful over time and how you will continue to boost their self-confidence.


Written by Vivian Harte