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Performance Management: How to Manage Uncertain Employees

Nervous man looking how the interviewer is reading his resume during a job interview.

How can you inspire an indi­vid­ual to have faith in their abil­i­ties and excel?

Some employ­ees need more hand-hold­ing than oth­ers. As man­agers, we know how much time and atten­tion under­con­fi­dent employ­ees can require. They can be slow­er, over­ly cau­tious and seek clar­i­fi­ca­tion on many things. For a busy man­ag­er, this type of employ­ee can be a lot to handle.

But we should remem­ber that these uncer­tain employ­ees are actu­al­ly des­per­ate to do a good job. They just need time and reas­sur­ance — and in time, it will pay off. After all, employ­ees with greater faith in their abil­i­ty per­form far bet­ter than those who doubt themselves.

So how can you adapt your per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem to moti­vate, inspire and embold­en an uncer­tain employ­ee? Begin by fol­low­ing the steps below and you’ll begin to notice your employ­ee slow­ly devel­op­ing con­fi­dence and reas­sur­ance in their strengths.

Make it clear that you believe in their abilities

It should already be obvi­ous that you believe in your employ­ees. After all, if you didn’t think they could do their job, you cer­tain­ly wouldn’t have hired them. How­ev­er, some employ­ees are wor­ried they’ll let you down, or that per­haps their CV and inter­view­ing skills are more impres­sive than their work per­for­mance is. Some peo­ple even suf­fer from what is known as Imposter Syn­drome”. This is a con­cept that describes high-achiev­ing indi­vid­u­als who have a com­plete inabil­i­ty to inter­nalise their accom­plish­ments. They’re in con­stant fear that, one day, they will be out­ed as a fraud, despite what skills they may have.

Take the time to express that you have com­plete faith in their abil­i­ties and let them know that even if it takes them a while to become ful­ly pro­duc­tive, that’s okay. It’s bet­ter that they advance and a slow and steady pace than try to take too much on at once and suf­fer burnout.

Don’t micro­man­age your workforce

Your under­con­fi­dent employ­ee may be so because they have always been micro­man­aged in the past. When you have every aspect of your work­ing life man­dat­ed and direct­ed, you can’t branch out. You can’t exper­i­ment. You can’t devel­op the skills you want and you can’t become self-reliant. So although this might be some­thing your employ­ee is accus­tomed to, you don’t want to con­tin­ue the tradition.

Instead of con­stant­ly look­ing over your employee’s shoul­der and instruct­ing them, give them some auton­o­my. At Clear Review, we advise man­agers to let employ­ees write their own SMART objec­tives — although, of course, this should always be on the back of a dis­cus­sion with the man­ag­er. You might also con­sid­er allow­ing them to use some work time to work on a par­tic­u­lar project or to devel­op a giv­en skill. You might con­sid­er imple­ment­ing flex­i­ble work­ing, so they have con­trol over their hours. All of this will even­tu­al­ly con­tribute to a more inde­pen­dent, con­fi­dent mindset.

Remem­ber to deliv­er praise and recog­ni­tion in a time­ly manner

If an employ­ee is uncer­tain, what they are real­ly look­ing for is reas­sur­ance that they are doing the right thing, or advanc­ing at a healthy pace. If you’re tight-lipped with your praise and acknowl­edge­ments, this won’t help your employee’s lev­els of confidence.

We rec­om­mend you incor­po­rate con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment into your com­pa­ny. This means man­ag­er and employ­ee will have month­ly check-ins, and man­agers can use this time to deliv­er appro­pri­ate, hon­est recog­ni­tion and strengths-based feed­back. Remem­ber, recog­ni­tion is always more effec­tive when it is spe­cif­ic and timely.

Be open to their feed­back on exist­ing processes

What­ev­er you do, don’t make your under­con­fi­dent employ­ee feel super­flu­ous. Remind them they are an inte­gral ele­ment of the team and that their feed­back is always valued.

Are they hav­ing issues with cer­tain work­place process­es? Do they have ideas on how to improve cer­tain areas of the organ­i­sa­tion? Take all these thoughts on board. You nev­er know what valu­able feed­back might lead to sig­nif­i­cant boosts in over­all com­pa­ny pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Your employee’s con­fi­dence will be ele­vat­ed not only by man­age­ment lis­ten­ing and enter­tain­ing their feed­back, but if they are able to see the pos­i­tive effects caused by their input, this can do won­ders for their ego.

Use per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware to pro­vide real-time communication

Let your employ­ee know that you are always avail­able for a dis­cus­sion, or to deliv­er feed­back, at any point. This might be the safe­ty net they need to get on with their work and per­form at a high stan­dard. Know­ing they have you on hand when required will be great for their peace of mind. Our per­for­mance review soft­ware allows every­one in the organ­i­sa­tion to exchange real-time, hon­est feed­back at the click of a but­ton. Don’t allow your­self to fall behind in terms of tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ment. With mil­len­ni­als (who expect instant feed­back) increas­ing­ly mak­ing up the work­force, real-time feed­back is increas­ing­ly crit­i­cal for busi­ness success.

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If you’d like to know Clear Review’s per­for­mance appraisal soft­ware can help you improve employ­ee engage­ment and boost com­pa­ny pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, book a demo here. We can also arrange a 15-minute free per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware con­sul­ta­tion at any time.