• Aryeh Brickner

Lessons from Mr. Miyagi: Believe in your "employees" and they will believe in themselves.

In this scene from the otherwise fairly forgettable Karate Kid Part II, Mr. Miyagi displays the ultimate faith in Daniel to break the ice, in his own unique way. Could Daniel have done it without his encouragement?

As managers, we’re often passing messages on to our employees, about our faith in their ability. Do you insist on sitting in on every client's phone call? Do you not let employees run point on presentations to senior management? Do you not invite employees to meetings that impact their work? While there isn’t a black and white formula for belief, some employees feel that their boss has the utmost confidence in their ability to execute their work based on their behavior, while some don't.

One of the key success factors for any employee is knowing that their manager believes in them! That feeling of “my manager thinks I am incompetent and is just waiting for me to make a mistake”, not only sucks the joy out of their work, it also can stunt their growth in terms of taking on new responsibilities.

So how do you know you’re giving off a positive vibe and are fostering a feeling of confidence in employees?

1. Ask them! Do you feel like I am encouraging you enough? Do you feel micro-managed? You’d be surprised how candid employees can be if they feel like you’re trying to have a serious conversation with them about it.

2. Encourage them and empower them! “Lisa, I have a conflict with the client call this week, so I am not going to be able to make it. Reschedule?! Don’t be silly! You’ve been doing an amazing job with this account; you’ve got this nailed!”

3. Add on responsibilities in a constructive manner. “Mike, I’d like you to handle the team’s daily sync while I am on vacation. I’ve seen you do it for your own team and I am sure you’ll do a fantastic job with the entire group.”

4. Invest in them! Train them, provide them with a mentor, teach them new skills. Nothing says, "I believe in you," more than putting your money where your mouth is.

When employees are surrounded by people who believe in them there is no limit to what they can accomplish!

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