Managing Insecure Employees

Oceanic Pharmachem: Managing Insecure Employees

Oceanic Pharmachem Private Limited (OPPL) believes that HR can help insecure employees by focussed coaching; which can boost their self-esteem and thereby, making them excel at their job.

Many employees lack self-confidence, which can make it hard to get the best performance out of them. Insecure employees are hard to evaluate, hard to coach, and hard to develop. They are so concerned with their social perception that they either fail to solicit critical feedback or completely ignore it when given, robbing them of the opportunity to improve. Their interpersonal relationships also tend to be more complicated.

The HR, on behalf of the management, has to help them build confidence in their own capacity and change how they see themselves. With continued efforts, there can be a shift in the right direction.

A few strategies that can be followed are as follows:

Being honest with the employee
While most managers cannot be professional psychologists and delve into the underlying causes of their employees’ insecurities, they do have an obligation to tackle certain behaviours if they are damaging the team. When the employee’s insecurity manifests itself in getting defensive when interacting with colleagues, then it becomes imperative to let the employee know that becoming argumentative and shutting down others’ opinions, affects the decision-making. It is also important to address the impact of the employees’ behaviour if that could derail their professional trajectory and be a career limiter.

Building trust
Developing rapport with anxious employees requires patience and effort. A good amount of time has to be spent in building trust. Inquiring about hobbies, family and interests outside of work, will lay the groundwork to show care and support. Developing a positive dynamic within the team will benefit everyone and help cultivate a growth mind-set whereby colleagues are willing to challenge themselves and grow. Reorienting people’s goals in the workplace to be less about how they are seen and how they perform and more about how much they improve, will be highly beneficial.

Clarifying expectations
One of the biggest challenges of overseeing insecure employees is the impact on the ability to manage the team’s workload. An insecure employee is not inclined to be proactive or take on a responsibility. Hence, handholding may be necessary, especially in the initial stages of an assignment. Such employees can initially be given narrow, concrete types of projects with well-defined deliverables, making sure the specifications, the resources available, and the timeline of each task is well understood. Ultimately, the goal is for insecure employees to operate more autonomously, and this expectation has to be explained going forward so that the employee works independently and makes own decisions.

Giving specific feedback
To boost the person’s confidence, creating opportunities for success and then giving clear feedback on what enabled that success, is very important. Being definitive and explicit gives the employee a knowledge of their strengths. Congratulating and encouraging on achievements can be very helpful. Coaching employees to leverage their strengths by constantly reminding of their well-executed work. Precise and detailed compliments given in an authentic way can help to build up the employee’s self-esteem, push them to excel and make them feel competent.

Pairing colleagues together
Pairing an insecure employee with a peer who has complementary skills is often beneficial. Working on specific projects helps each develop new abilities and learn how best to support each other. Asking insecure employee to be a mentor or coach to another team member, can reinforce the value they see in themselves.

Recognizing when efforts aren’t working
Managing a chronically insecure employee is challenging but if at a certain point, the efforts to improve the situation are not working, a tough call on whether to continue to invest in this person has to be made. Sometimes, the employee’s self-esteem could be a deeply rooted and ingrained thought pattern, which can halt progress. In such cases, it would be best to let this person go or to assign a different job that’s better suited.

The key points to be adhered can be summarized as follows:
 Boost employees’ confidence by providing specific feedback on their strong points
 Cultivate trust within the team by showing concern to employees
 Assign insecure employee to be a mentor or coach to team members