First, let’s brainstorm around reasons employees may feel insecure in the workplace:
Fearful they will lose their jobs – if an employee feels they could potentially lose their position because of their performance or the company’s performance, it’s important to provide clear and constant communication to minimize their anxiety.
Not fully trained around their responsibilities – if the employee bumps into their lack of knowledge, they will naturally feel insecure until they are properly trained. This is not a chronic insecurity issue, but rather a training requirement.
Your management style – you are not clear or your interaction with them is upsetting them. Some employees seem to handle any type of boss and still perform. Most employees react negatively to a manager who isn’t clear and is disrespectful towards them.
Miscommunication in the company – when this happens it misdirects employee’s performance levels. Employees know already that something is not right and start checking in more frequently for direction.
They are fearful of making a mistake – here you need to discern whether their reaction is their own internal processing, or are they reacting to you because you are anxious about their performance. If your concern is based on specific performance or behavior issues, then in managing this employee, you need to coach or counsel them on performance expectations.
Insecurity is based on fear. How do you help the employee transition from constant checking in with you to increasing their confidence muscles? You don’t need to be their therapist to understand why they act the way they do. Instead, you can set expectations around their behaviors. Insecure employees have trained themselves to be insecure.
Most employees are motivated by their desire to do a good job. Insecure people want to do a good job but they are anxious that they won’t do it right, and are caught up in the cycle of not believing in themselves. In managing employees, you have to create a toolbox of solutions to maximize each person’s performance and meet your deliverables. Why not add some of these ideas to managing the insecure employee.
3 Basic Steps
Acknowledge the behavior
Bring the issue out and discuss with the employee. Otherwise, you will just be frustrated with the employee and this only creates more anxiety for them.
I know it’s hard to do. I had such an employee and their anxiety blocked their ability to take in information. This employee was anxious about learning and looked to me to do the work for them. Since I knew how to do it, they came to me instead of creating solutions of their own. I was becoming frustrated until I realized that this was their issue…not mine. They eventually learned how to do the work and performed at very high levels, but it took a lot of my energy to move them past their anxiety.
I evaluated my training with the employee…was I clear around the steps to perform the job? Did I provide the employee with enough knowledge for them to execute their responsibilities? If I was affirmative in these questions, then I knew I needed to start pushing back by providing space for the employee to stretch. That’s when the open conversation comes into play.
When managing employees, your greatest gift to them and you is open communication. Set the expectation that the employee is required to bring to the table solutions along with their questions. They know the next time they stop by your desk, they are required to bring the question and how they would solve it. If the solution is not perfect, acknowledge them for taking the risk and providing a potential solution. The goal here is to help them develop their own problem solving skills.
Focus On Their Strengths
Highlight the employee’s strengths and show them how they can use those abilities to problem solve. Be gentle and diligent in reframing their concerns. Redirect their concerns towards learning how to solve. Problem solving is the most important skill an employee can bring to your team. Unless you want to do all of the work, placing your focus on problem-solving skills is beneficial to you and the employee.
I believe that you gain the most in managing employees by talking to their strengths. Insecure employees don’t see their strengths, only their perceived weaknesses. You can help them by asking them to collaborate with you in uncovering all of their strengths. This is a powerful exercise for both of you. The employee starts to own their strengths and you develop a management style that builds on the employee’s strengths. Managing employees by their strengths will enhance your enjoyment in managing teams.
Acknowledge The Right Behaviors
Now that you know it’s important to focus on the employee’s strengths, this is the time to incorporate another skill set for you….daily acknowledgements. It may seem like a lot of work to be aware and consistently acknowledge their performance. Well, you are already depleting your energy by maintaining their insecurities, so why not invest some time upfront to help them take responsibility for their own problem solving abilities.
It’s about finding the right solutions that work for both you and the employee. Your role is to set expectations, provide training and support the employee in maximizing their performance levels. The employee’s job is to learn how to meet those expectations…which include problem solving.
The insecure employee doesn’t have their own ready-made internal acknowledgement system, so set the expectation by emulating the behavior and acknowledge their strengths.
The Talkative Employee
21 Great Ways to Become an Outstanding Manager by Brian Tracy
With this valuable step-by-step program, you will learn how to:
-Lead your team to maximum results – so you can stand out
above the rest
-Keep your team happy and motivated
-Maximize your natural leadership capabilities
-Build a team to take you to the top
-Make your profits soar