Does giving other people credit build your confidence? I think so
I smiled a lot this past weekend. Mostly because of time spent with family but also because of time spent working. I felt pretty good all weekend and I was reminded of that study about how the physical act of smiling can actually make you feel happier and less stressed.
It got me thinking about what other actions might lead to success and I landed on confidence — and specifically how to build it. When it comes to success, confidence matters (a quick search proves I’m not the first person to notice this). But we can’t just decide to “be confident.” Real confidence is not something you can force with a quick exercise like a smiling.
But, I think there is a behavior that is to confidence what smiling is to happiness: giving other people credit for great work.
Giving credit to others is often cited as a quality of highly confident, successful people. My guess is, regardless of your current level of success, when you start embracing this behavior, you will feel more successful immediately and actually be more confident. I have written about the cultural impact of honoring the assist before, but this is different. I believe that focusing on giving credit to others can build greater confidence for each of us — and deliver all the success that comes with it.
No matter how you feel, you can choose to accept (or take) credit for great work, or give credit to your team. Instead of looking for ways to build your confidence by searching for evidence of your success and pointing it out to anyone who will listen, search for reasons to compliment others. Focus on the little things like saying “we” not “I” and referencing the supportive work of others on your team in updates on your projects. Find reasons to thank people for work that’s made it possible for you to reach your goals, and look for opportunities to highlight ways you’ve learned from your teammates.
Everyone struggles with confidence at times. The next time you get on this downward spiral, look for ways to give credit away and to point out the great work of others. I bet you’ll see your confidence come rushing back, and with it the clarity of vision and dedicated focus that you need to win.
(If anyone has research on this, please send me the link. If not, it would be cool to see someone do a study on the causal link between giving credit to others as a building block of self-confidence rather than a result of self-confidence.)