How to Help an Employee Who Thinks They Don't Need It


Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Management pros

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Not all employees that need help will ask for it and some may not even know that they need more support.

Article 3 Minutes
How to Help an Employee Who Thinks They Don't Need

Management is all about identifying the areas where employees are able to flourish and where they may need additional support to succeed. However, this is made much more difficult when team members may not be aware that they need any help at all.

For some professionals, this naivety is a result of not being aware of how others are performing, but for certain team members, it's simply over-confidence. So how do you tackle this?

Employees with conviction in their abilities can be a positive force, especially if they're able to lead others on the team. But when their skills don't match up to their confidence, you have a problem. Still, the last thing you want to do is break their self-esteem or make them uncertain about their place on the team, yet it is still important that you're able to talk to them and identify how you can best support them.

1. Evaluate your approach

It's easy to lay blame on a stubborn employee, but a core part of being a manager is finding an approach that suits each individual professional. If you've not tried different methods of reaching out and communicating with team members then it may be you that needs the support and guidance, not the employee who is resisting help. Not everyone responds in the same way and you can't expect the best results if you don't experiment with your management style.

2. Acknowledge their achievements

If someone is overly confident or arrogant, it can create friction on the team and even between them and their manager but it's important to acknowledge their attributes. This will make it easier for them to trust you and take professional advice from you. Constantly focusing on the areas they could improve will not only do little to help them, especially if they don't see their own flaws, but will also disengage them from the business objectives.

3. Try to understand them

Employees can be overconfident for a number of different reasons. They might be blissfully unaware that they can improve in certain areas or not understand the resources and tools available to them. You need to try to understand why they are being resistant to help. If it's simply an ego thing, you might try comparing them to anonymous data from the rest of the team to highlight areas they could improve. Having a better connection with them will also help you identify ways that you can motivate them. Whether it's money, recognition or responsibility, most professionals have something that they crave - you just need to find out what.

4. Be clear about goals

You should be completely transparent about why you want to help them. Whether you are eligible for a bonus or need to do it as part of your job description, being open and honest about your intentions will help build trust between you. It could even be a team goal that you need everyone to contribute to, which may make them more accepting of support as few people want to be the one letting their colleagues down.

5. Make him/her part of the team

It can be easy for overconfident people to feel as though they're being singled out. By creating a team-wide initiative that everyone participates in, you're making it clear that it's nothing personal. Team meetings can be a great way to highlight any problems, objectives and obstacles to everyone at the same time. Having a section of this dedicated to areas of improvement, where each employee will identify something that they need help with, will allow everyone to understand their own strengths and weaknesses and provide support for their colleagues.

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