You hired them. You’ve worked with them. You’ve trained them. You’ve coach them. They perform. But in the big moment when you need them the most, your confidence fades and so does theirs. What is up with that?

This year I have probably enjoyed watching NFL football more than any year I’ve been a fan. It just gave me a feeling of normalcy during a pandemic when the “new normal,” was/is no longer new or normal! Watching the NFC and AFC Championship is always fun. This past weekend didn’t disappoint. It doesn’t hurt when your team (The Kansas City Chiefs) are trying to, “Run it Back,” for another Super Bowl win. That aside, it was very interesting to see how coaches and team leaders build or take tear down confidence when it matters most. Let’s take the NFC Championship game first.

Do you have the confidence in a QB like Aaron Rogers to go for a touchdown on 4th down to take the lead with two minutes left in the game when you know that the GOAT, Tom Brady, is going to get the ball back? Or do you kick a field goal when you still need a touchdown to take the lead? I would take Aaron Rogers or at least let HIM make the decision. You say this is Monday morning quarterbacking but c’mon. I doubt many Packer’s fans were thinking field goal. Having confidence in your performers is critical to their performance.

In the AFC Championship the Chiefs muffed a punt near the goal line five minutes into the game. It resulted in a Bills touchdown. Mecole Hardiman slammed his helmet on the bench and dove under a few parkas to hide from his mistake. The next thing you see is Patrick Mahomes telling him not to worry about it, and then, “Let’s just go be us.” His confidence in his teammate’s capabilities were off the charts! He went on to score a touchdown and knockout a 50-yard run to set up another score. Give the ball back to someone who just made a mistake during a big game? That’s confidence! And the kind of confidence that’s a mindset accelerator across the entire team. What can we learn from this?

As leaders and team mates we have to be the kind of people that build confidence. Here are THREE WAYS to be a confidence builder:

  • Stay Connected: Anyone who has made a mistake instinctively wants to hide or isolate. Mecole Hardiman thought covering up with parkas would do it! As a teammate and a leader, staying connected with people makes a difference and helps them move on.
  • Give them a Chance: People make mistakes. When they do, you have to give them another opportunity to make it right. Give them back the ball!
  • Get Commitment: When coaching is done well, you can get commitment to next steps. Commitment after coaching builds confidence and builds accountability.
Photo Credit to Sydney Rae via Unsplash

Do these three things right and you will build the confidence of champions and championship teams.