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Tips for Enhancing Your Personal Confidence
by Marnie Green

A primary goal of our new Painless Performance Conversations workshop is to build confidence in leaders so that they can successfully conduct the tough, yet important, conversations with employees. Here are five tips for boosting your confidence as a performance manager:

1. If not you, then who? Remind yourself that when it comes to helping an employee enhance or modify their performance, there's no one else who has that direct responsibility. If you are expecting something other than what you are getting, you are the best person to raise the issue.

2. Build mastery. Feeling confident in your role as a leader takes practice. Take little steps each day to practice having performance conversations. Separate attitudes from behaviors and focus on providing specific feedback related to the behaviors you observe. Little by little you'll build confidence as you become more proficient.

3. Model successful people. Identify other leaders within your organization who appear to confidently conduct performance conversations. Watch how they deliver the tough messages. Listen to the questions they ask. Model your approach after those you admire.

4. Practice visualization. Before you enter into a performance conversation, use a planner to imagine yourself confidently and successfully leading the discussion. Even if you don't write out a plan, just think about the steps you'd like the conversation to follow. The conversation probably won't go as you planned, but having a roadmap will give you the confidence you need to get back on track when you are hit with a surprise.

5. Mind your negative thoughts. Do you find yourself thinking, "Oh, I don't want to have this conversation." or "I'll just wait to see if the employee changes...?" These thoughts do nothing but slow you down. They aren't helpful and do nothing to build your confidence. Try to catch yourself when you see that you are using these statements and replace them with positive self talk.

Some conversations are just tough. They cause our hands to sweat, our heart to pound, and our mouth to go dry. Still, you can convey confidence and strength in your approach. It just takes a little work.

Marnie Green may be contacted at

Marnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Arizona-based Management Education Group, Inc. She is the author of Painless Performance Evaluations: A Practical Approach to Managing Day to Day Employee Performance (Pearson/Prentice Hall). Green is a speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations develop leaders today for the workforce of tomorrow. Contact Green at



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