The Secret in developing high performing staff = Building Confidence

Following 2 days training in Business Process Re-engineering, Mikey was confident that he could speed up cutting the hedge…

It was a paid gig in Madigans, O’ Connell Street, Dublin. Hardly a kings’ ransom but we’d make a few dollars and have a bit of fun. The Sunday night of a Halloween bank holiday is lively. Given the location, a big crowd was guaranteed, mostly tourists. An eclectic range of music with a bit of ‘paddy-whackery’ thrown in (“Have we anyone visiting from the USA?”) would do the trick. I was running this particular show and picked a 2-man team from the usual suspects. Step 1: Drive out to Swords & pick up Andy. Step 2: Haul his public address system into the back of the jeep (the speakers wouldn’t look out of place at an open air concert in the Aviva). Step 3: Collect microphone stands in Beaumont. Step 4: Drive to the pub and team up with Ju Ju (his real name’s Dave).  Step 5: Assemble all the gear. Whew! No one said becoming ‘famous’ was ever going to be easy.

Breaking News: Mid way through the 1st set, the high E-string on my guitar broke. With that repaired and the guitar re-tuned (about 8 minutes) I was back on track. Then the battery in the semi-acoustic guitar gave up the ghost. Luckily one of the other guys had a spare. Just before the end of the set, incredibly, I then managed to break the D string. Are you getting a picture here of how well this night was going? Most of the punters were anesthetized by that point (“To Arthur!”) and didn’t even notice

Declining Confidence: As each little mini-tragedy unfolded, I was getting more and more rattled. Playing ‘for yourself’ in the front room is one thing; being paid elevates the stress. The other guys are well seasoned and had a laugh seeing me running around like Inspector Gadget trying to sort out the mishaps. Perhaps it’s the raw material for a new song: (“Don’t give up the day job – Yeah, yeah, yeah”).

Wider Message: It struck me afterwards how easy it is for confidence to unravel. When the outer veneer of confidence is peeled back, people struggle to perform. The question is whether there are people in your organization who’ve lost confidence? And, if this is the case, is there anything you can do to get them back on track?

The simplest definition of a manager is ‘someone who gets their work done through others’. If your staff are struggling, fixing the organization equivalent of broken strings  or worrying about historical ‘underperformance’, they are not playing to their future potential. A red thread running through many of these blog posts, is that confidence is not a fixed commodity. Remember the old children’s song There’s a hole in the Bucket? For most of us, confidence leaks and needs to be continually topped up. As a leader, it’s your job to do exactly that. Success is not about what you personally achieve, regardless of how brilliant you are or how many hours you punch in. It’s about your ability to release the talent, energy and capability of the people around you. You can sing that!

Paul Mooney

PS A lighter moment…

1. Innovative
2. Preliminary
3. Proliferation
4. Cinnamon


1. Specificity

2. Constitutionally speaking

3. Passive-aggressive disorder

4. Transubstantiate


1. Sorry, but you’re not really my type.
2. Nope. Not another drop of booze!
3. Kebab? But, I’m not hungry.
4. Good evening, officer. Isn’t it lovely tonight?
5. Oh, I couldn’t! No one wants to hear me sing karaoke.
6. I’m not interested in fighting you.
7. I won’t dance, I’ve no coordination and I’d hate to look like a fool!
8. I must be going home now, as I’ve very important work to do in the morning.

Know someone who’d benefit from reading this blog? Forward it on or ask them to contact and we will add them to the mailing list. If you’d like to have a discussion about management or organization development, give me a call on 087 2439019.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
This entry was posted in Building Confidence. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Secret in developing high performing staff = Building Confidence

  1. Susan Mulholland says:

    This has to be one of the best bloggers in cyperspace.
    Always short
    Very insightful
    Signs off with a lovely chuckle….!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s