How to Develop Your Confidence as a Manager of People

Hi, I’m Nicola from The People Mentor. Today, I want to discuss developing your confidence as a people manager. 

So, what is confidence?

At its core, it’s about believing in your abilities and accepting and trusting yourself. 

Being confident doesn’t mean you know everything or do everything perfectly. 

But it does mean that you understand your strengths and weaknesses, communicate well, and can accept feedback, even when it’s not positive. 

So why is it important that you develop your confidence as a manager of people?

I would say it’s because a confident manager inspires confidence in their team. 

Good managers inspire their teams; if your team members are confident, they’ll be happier, more productive, and more innovative. 

That is a recipe for success for the team and the businesses. 

Okay, but I’m not naturally confident, you might say, and that’s okay. 


Confidence is something that can be learned and developed over time. 

I’ve worked with plenty of managers who told me that they weren’t confident at all at the beginning of their careers. That comes with learning and experience. 

Everyone doubts their own abilities at some point, especially when they are a new or accidental manager. 


How then can you develop your confidence as a manager of people?

Here are some tips that I’ve picked up throughout my career. 

First, find out what your strengths are. 

If you aren’t completely sure, answer these questions:

What have you really done well in or really enjoyed in the past?

How can you do more of these things daily in your job?

How can you share these things with your team members?

Sometimes, it might not be possible to use some of your strengths fully in your current role, but what if you could use them elsewhere in the business? 

Or what if you could use these strengths voluntarily outside of work?

Either way, the more you do what you’re good at, the more you hone your strengths and build your confidence. 

My second tip is to get comfortable with your weaknesses.

Everyone has them, and it’s okay to have them. 

Be honest with your team about them and identify any areas where you could use extra training, support, or tools. 

This will build trust with your team and help them to see that their weaknesses are okay and nobody is perfect. 

You might inspire them to work on their weaknesses, too. 

The next thing that I always loved to do and that I think will really develop your confidence as a people manager is reflecting on what you’ve achieved. 

When self-doubt rears its ugly head, pause and think about what you’ve done before. 

There will have been times when you didn’t think you would achieve something or did something that felt impossible at the time. 

Bring those to mind when times get tough, or even better, have a physical or digital folder of evidence to remind you that you will get through whatever it is because you have done countless times before. 

The thing to remember when you feel like you’re lacking confidence or muddling through is that no manager is an island! 

Managers can often feel isolated, so it’s really important to seek advice and support to help you navigate tricky situations you may not have dealt with before. 

Getting leadership mentoring and coaching can be a great way to develop your confidence as a people manager. Having an experienced and nonjudgmental sounding board can allow you to unburden yourself, see a way forward, and develop your leadership skills for better confidence. 

I offer leadership and mentoring sessions, and the managers I’ve worked with over the years have found them invaluable in helping them get unstuck, whatever their issues. 

Please get in touch if you’d like to learn more about what’s involved in my mentoring sessions and the real benefits they could bring to your leadership. 

Okay, so next on the list of ways to improve your confidence is Improving your communication skills. 

As a people manager, it’s important to know how to communicate with a range of people who have different levels of knowledge and experience and who absorb information in different ways. Understanding how to communicate well will make you a more confident and effective manager. 

Next up is another favourite of mine: rewarding yourself for your wins, whether it’s meeting a deadline or winning around that difficult employee. 

It’s all too easy to get lost in your to-do list, to get too focused on ticking off one thing and moving on to the next. But when you do tick that big thing off the list, promise yourself a little reward. 

I used to promise myself that when I achieved X, I would do something nice for myself, like go out for an invigorating walk at the coast after work or have a meal out with my husband. 

Appreciating your efforts and acknowledging that you are making progress will help you feel more confident in your abilities as a manager. 

So far, I’ve mainly focused on how developing your confidence as a people manager impacts you, but what about the effects it has on your team?

Building your confidence as a manager can really help to develop trust and respect within your team. 

For example, a willingness to be vulnerable and show your team your faults positions you as a confident person who is comfortable in your skin. 

You find things difficult sometimes, and you know your weaknesses, but you’re working on them. 

Communicating this will help you connect with your team members and inspire trust and respect. 

Speaking of communicating, listening to your team members is really important. 

Listening to their opinions doesn’t mean agreeing with them, and if you’re a confident manager, you know this. 

You also know that the second they come to you with a problem, you don’t have to solve it. 

You have to listen, ask questions, and either advise them, take action to help, or point them in the right direction if you can’t help. 

So, listening and taking things on board is crucial.

Listening and asking for feedback cannot only make your team members feel valued and validated but also help you improve your confidence. Whether the feedback is formal, informal, or anonymous, it is valuable in terms of helping you, your team, and the business grow. 

I mentioned earlier that developing your confidence as a manager of people can inspire confidence in your team. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of this. 

Remember, a confident team is a productive and well-performing team. 

So, how can you help your team improve their confidence or recover it when something has gone wrong?

The first thing I’d recommend is to show them your human side. 

Ask about them, the things they like, and what makes them tick. 

Show them that you realise they are a person apart from their job role. 

This will make them feel valued and might improve their confidence. 

Secondly, if something goes wrong, help them to feel part of the solution rather than the cause of the problem. 

Don’t be tempted to use cliches or sugarcoat it if something hasn’t gone to plan. 

Be constructive. 

Say ‘this happened because of x, y, and z.’

Ask your team members for ideas on how you can stop the problem from occurring again and this will help them feel that they have an important part to play in finding solutions.

This can work wonders for restoring confidence. 

The next way to improve your team’s confidence is simple, yet many managers forget to do so. 

That is acknowledging their efforts and a job well done.

For example, through the pandemic, many teams had to deal with the chaos of adapting to working at home. 

Even if there was a lack of ‘progress’ at the time, did you stop to acknowledge everyone’s efforts?

If your team members have continued to support you in difficult times, you must tell them that you appreciate their efforts. 

Sometimes, it can be hard to focus on the positives. Focusing on the positives doesn’t mean ignoring mistakes or the negatives, but it’s an important way to help your people stay confident and keep going. 

Don’t make your workplace the one where everyone is burned out trying to stay on the treadmill of meeting constant deadlines. Make it the one where everyone is able to stop and savour what they’ve achieved before moving on to the next thing.

Make it the one where your team’s confidence shines through because they are backed up by a confident manager. 

Do you need to develop your confidence as a manager of people?

One area where many managers struggle is having difficult conversations with team members.

Of all the questions I get asked about management, how to have a difficult conversation is probably the most common. 

That spurred me on to develop and introduce my journal, ‘How to make difficult conversations easier in the workplace’, for managers. 

Much more than a journal, it’s a guide to better understanding yourself and your team members so you can plan difficult conversations and feel more confident in them. 

There’s an absolute wealth of information in there that will get you thinking, and by the time you finish this journal, you will really understand yourself a lot more. 

Pop along to Amazon, get your copy, and watch your confidence in difficult conversations soar!

I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast; make sure you tune in for the next episode of the series to get your dose of management and leadership wisdom.

This is The People Mentor signing off.                                            

Leave a comment