07 December 2022 |

Why your team needs to know you believe in them


Their one-on-one was coming to a close when Jess told Mason, “I know you can do this. I believe in you. What can I do to support you?”

Mason was new to the team—working his first full-time job out of high school. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life and was working a customer service job because he needed health benefits. Jess was an experienced leader. She knew that he would potentially stop showing up at some point. Her focus as a leader was to make his job rewarding enough that he would keep coming back.

Employees like Mason hate criticism, but they devour development and encouragement.

As Jess told Mason she believed in him, his body language opened up, he leaned forward, and he started smiling. It was like magic. I started wondering how I had ever led a team without using this phrase.

“I believe in you” is one of the most underused phrases in the English language.

Hearing Jess tell him that she believed in him helped Mason see she had a genuine interest in his potential and career growth. It helped him get out of his comfort zone and inspired him to see his abilities differently.

Telling people we believe in them has to be the icing on the cake—else the words lose all meaning. If your team doesn’t trust you, the words lose meeting.

Here are 3 ways to show your team you believe in them

1. Build on Strengths

When people are able to focus on the things they do well, they are more engaged in their work and live more fulfilling lives. When you see someone using their strengths, be intentional about calling them out and recognizing them for it.

The things that are recognized are repeated.

2. Provide feedback/recognition with urgency

When there is an elephant in the room, talk about it.

When you notice something going well, call it out to encourage more of it.

But also be ready to show your team you believe in them by helping them be better. People can’t improve from feedback you never give them. Don’t be afraid of feedback. Your team will welcome feedback as long as they know you care about them personally.

3. Invest in their development

Take time quarterly to talk to your team about their personal and professional goals. Don’t wait for them to come to you and ask for development. Make their development a priority for you.

Look for opportunities for them to use their strengths more often

Help them connect with impactful mentors

Find resources (podcasts, videos, books) for them to learn from