Have you noticed the lack of eye-contact from a clerk while being served in a retail establishment? Have you noticed some of the people you work with who are reluctant to be forthright with customers and clients either on the phone or in-person? Have you noticed a propensity in your own workplace of people who don't seem to speak up when it comes time to address an issue that needs to be talked about?
It's happening more and more in workplaces across North America. Employers are searching out Communication Skills workshops in the hopes that communication with co-workers, clients and customers can be improved in an effort to streamline the workplaces. But it just doesn't seem to be working. Why? It's not so much about people communicating effectively as it is about the level of confidence within the individuals in raising the subjects that need to be addressed. It's a self-confidence issue.
I was recently surfing a business networking web site that asked the question: What are the most damaging aspects of a lack of self-confidence in the workplace? I really began to think about how a lack of self-confidence impacts the workplace. here's what I offered as my response.
Ultimately, every delivery and/or process mechanism in the workplace is directly affected on a quality level by a lack of self-confidence. Every intricate piece of the workplace puzzle is reliant on just one common denominator: people. It's people who deliver in every organization. It's people who make sales. It's people who develop marketing strategies. It's people who fix customer problems. It's people who lead organizations. It's people who implement safety programs. It's people who must communicate with other people on the job. One person without self-confidence makes the whole thing fall apart.
People without self-confidence will cause the organization as a whole to suffer. Productivity suffers in the absence of self-confidence because if a person lacks the confidence to accomplish a task, they will hold back their effort in the hopes of not doing it wrong.
Sales suffer when a sales person lacks self-confidence. With a lack of self-confidence, a salesperson will feel intimidated to ask for the order. Sometimes in order to get a sale all one needs to do is ask. But without confidence, asking is the toughest thing they will do all day for fear they may be rejected.
Customer service suffers when a CSR lacks self-confidence. A Customer Service Rep who lacks confidence will not ask the customer if service could be improved nor will they go over and above to satisfy any concerns before they happen for fear that they may create something they are ill-equipped to address.
Management suffers when a manager lacks self-confidence. Sometimes managers need to address some tough issues with employees and by not addressing those issues, allow issues to go unaddressed and unresolved creating a new standard for behavior in the workplace. Reception suffers when the receptionist lacks self-confidence. If the person who answers the phone isn't sure of him or herself, the person at the other end feels as confident about doing business with an organization as the person who answers the phone. If the receptionist can't instill confidence, the customer has no alternative but to feel uneasy about dealing with that company.
Organizational meetings suffer when attendees lack self-confidence. People without self-confidence don't speak up and therefore end up harboring resentment or frustration that issues are not being addressed. The organization as a whole will suffer if the frustration and resentment run rampant inside their employees.
Innovation suffers when those charged with developing new ideas lack self-confidence. Without confidence, innovative ideas are not brought forward, nor discussed. New ideas are kept to oneself in the hopes that person won't be laughed at. Time managment suffers with a lack of self-confidence. If there's no confidence from the employees to be able to accomplish specific tasks, why bother scheduling it in to their Daytimer.
Communications suffers in the presence of a lack of self-confidence. People who don't have confidence don't speak up. Things are left unsaid and, by default, internalized. If it's not out in the open, it can never be dealt with. Marketing suffers when the marketing team lacks self-confidence. "This idea probably won't work anyway." That's a likely statement from a marketing department employee with no self-confidence and so the idea gets dismissed without a second thought.
Cohesiveness suffers when employees lack self-confidence. People don't get along without talking out their issues. They simply tolerate each other. Toleration is not cohesiveness. Behind the tolerance could be a seething resentment and outward actions can demonstrate the harboring of resentment. And in the absence of self-confidence, can anyone really be called a "leader?" Shall I go on?
You get the point here. Organizations work fine - it's people who screw them up. Fix the people and you fix the organization. Stop wasting money on a useless things like personality assessments and team building until you have solved the root problem in any and all organizations - soft skills training to address "self" issues. Build your people stronger and the organization must get stronger by default. Better people offer better service, make better sales, better communicate, build better relationships, focus better, achieve better and ultimately lead better.
Attitude Adjustment: Before you start looking for quick fixes to make your team more cohesive, embark on sales training or service training or communications skills training, time-management training or even management/leadership training, make sure you've addressed the root cause of many of these workplace problems: self-confidence and the corresponding confident attitude that goes along with it.
Kevin Burns, Author & Attitude Adjuster, is an attitude expert in Employee Engagement, Service Leadership and Corporate Safety. Kevin believes better people offer better service, make better sales, get along better, communicate better, engage themselves better, manage better and overall, make your organization better and safer as a whole. He delivers high-energy and hilarious keynote presentations to corporate and association audiences throughout North America. To inquire about Kevin's availability, call toll-free 1-877-BURNS-11.
More info on Kevin's programs at http://www.kevburns.com
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