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Improving your team’s self confidence at work will help them become better marketers, and more comfortable with pushing boundaries. Sarah Clarke tells us more.

Manifesting a confidence driving culture

If you’re familiar with my past articles, you’ll know that digital, behavioural science, and data are three of my major passions at work – but, I have another passion which is team building and culture. So much so, that my first speaking event at London’s Hero Conference, 2022, was on fostering a confident team culture during a hybrid working model. Recently, I have done more and more reading on manifesting self confidence and driving a confidence culture, specifically in relation to digital marketing and account management, and wanted to share some thoughts on how we could be leveraging this more effectively to both foster a high-performing workforce and, more significantly, empower our teams.

So, what does it mean to be confident?

Interestingly, there has been lots of research done over the years that demonstrates a direct correlation between high-self esteem and success and, although the causation is not always clear, there is a relationship between these two elements. Naturally, this highlights the importance to improve confidence at work and help nurture our teams in this area. However, the first step to being able to do this is understanding that confidence does not look the same on (or to) everyone.

One of the biggest cultural challenges with confidence is that it is subjective. Confidence means something different to everyone and there is not a one size fits all approach to improving self confidence at work. If you bring 10 people into a room and ask them to describe how they feel when they feel confident, you’ll get a variety of descriptions including calm, serious, funny, and feeling like the main character. However, because there is a variety of words here, it means it can be challenging to coach and bring out of people, as there isn’t an overall blueprint which tells someone how to be confident.

This also means that, if someone wants to feel more confident at work, part of this should be recognising how confidence feels to them and that not feeling someone else’s idea of confident isn’t a shortcoming.

But why is it so easy for others to be confident?

I lead a team of around 15 people across five disciplines and the most common conversation I have is around confidence, imposter syndrome, and why everyone else always seems so confident in comparison. This level of comparison tends to hinder our confidence most of the time. For those individuals who feel less confident, when they see someone more confident, they make those people exceptional to make themselves feel better about being less confident. A comment I get fairly regularly is that “it’s easy for you because you’re a confident individual and of course, you can stand up in front of people to deliver a talk, training, or lead a discussion”.

What this leads to is making other people exceptional, holding them to a higher standard than yourself, and using that to explain the behaviour. This means that it is less likely that you’ll push outside of your comfort zone and develop a confident persona, limiting your potential.

How does this translate to marketing?

When we relate this back to marketing, one of the biggest challenges we have as marketers is that many of our words and language actually come from military strategy.

Ever heard any of the below in a marketing environment?

  • Campaigns
  • Execution
  • Time sensitive
  • Tactics
  • Competitor intelligence

This means that many of us have internalised that we are against each other, when, actually, we should be embracing each other and working together to drive the best results. Though a ‘confidence culture’ might typically be seen as a bullish, dog-eat-dog workplace where the loudest and most outspoken team members will succeed, a modern confidence culture is simply somewhere where teams feel safe in trying new things, sharing ideas, and have confidence that their work and knowledge will be fairly rewarded.

Some concepts to help instil this positive confidence culture among your team are;

  • Normalising the feeling of fear and apprehension at a daunting task – helping your team understand that confidence is not simply a lack of nerves, but being comfortable with feeling nervous,
  • Recognising that feelings of doubt (that voice telling you that you can’t overcome these fears) are unhelpful and the aim should be to catch these thoughts before they take hold,
  • Accepting that you are unlikely to be the most or the best, but that this isn’t the marker for success,
  • Learning that, though our thoughts may come from genes and past experiences, our neural networks are constantly developing and changing. In other words - we are not prisoners of our past and can learn to change our approach through practice!

And, for brands looking to partner with a digital agency on their strategy, there are benefits to working with an agency with a confidence culture.

Why should you work with a confident agency?

Working with an agency or a confident team provides an environment for positive challenge. It allows us to be a strategic partner, focused on challenging the status quo with our expertise to drive strategies which ultimately reach the KPI and business goal.

It provides a place for ideation, ensuring an open and honest discussion about the goals, what can be done and what can be achieved, with a confidence culture giving everyone the freedom to raise their ideas, without fear.

A confident team is more likely to give you an idea from left field or something which might be an opportunity to fail fast – yes, it might not always work, but doing something new provides a learning opportunity which can be taken into your next strategy, driving forward the overall goal.

In fact, we love positive challenge that much at ClickThrough, that we made it one of our values. If you’d like to speak to our experts about how to accelerate your performance with a confident team, get in touch here.

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