confidence of foreign talent

How to Help Your Assignee Shake off Current News that Affect his Confidence and Performance

The warning signs may not be noticeable at first. After all, as a global mobility manager, you are used to seeing assignees exude an unmistakable self-confidence. They know they have to perform and perhaps outshine their colleagues, simply because they are foreigners working in a very different and competitive environment. But somewhere along the line, while they are still making good on their deliverables, they begin to slip. It may have to do solely with lack confidence or recent unfortunate events that tie them with their country of birth. It’s already happening among Russian software engineers/developers in Silicon Valley.

With the deluge of news about the alleged hacking by their government in the last presidential elections using social media, Russian assignees are feeling the heat. In the New York Times piece,” Russians in Silicon Valley Can’t Shake Hacking Shadow,” software engineers reportedly said they were being treated differently socially in their companies. This could affect their work performance and even confidence, as they hesitate to contribute ideas and make suggestions, according to I Am Expat.

They may hold back and not give their all in the execution of their projects. They stop going out with friends after work and prefer to keep to themselves or only go out with their community of friends from the same country.

Those are just the first few symptoms that your assignee is losing his self-confidence, which, if left unchecked, can further deteriorate and cause him to spiral downward. He can’t admit it to you because he fears that you, as the officer who rates his performance, might hold it against him. He would be equally embarrassed to admit it to his few real close friends in the office because he doesn’t want to be seen as weak and incompetent. That’s why he keeps to himself once his insecurities set in.

But you do have to arrest this descent the minute you see the signs. It’s like depression — stop in its tracks, find a way to bring healing, and don’t allow it to worsen.

Here are a few tips to bring back your assignee full circle and restore him to becoming a winner again, even if he or she thinks people are avoiding him:

Involve him in activities and hobbies that you know he likes.

Self-confidence can be boosted by a sudden rediscovery of one’s creativity and abilities or your assurance that he is needed by his company. Help your assignee get in touch again with his inner genius by assigning him tasks that can bring it out. You have a lot of latitude in this area as his global mobility specialist. For example, if he used to paint in his native country and does graphic design in his spare time, pass on to him projects and tasks that will let him use his artistic gifts. If she loves to perform or speak publicly, ask her to help out as an emcee in the next corporate event.

Complement him without going overboard

Forbes says that a shaken self-confidence can be powered up by reinforcing one’s value and self-worth. It wouldn’t hurt your assignee if he were to remind himself of how good he is in his own verbal monologue and how you have his or her utmost trust. He can also cast aside those doldrums by looking back at past accomplishments. As a global mobility specialist, you can point him to the right direction by complementing him regularly every time he does a piece of good work, no matter how seemingly minor. Directly telling him that he is gifted in certain areas can also go a long way in removing his self-doubts. Reinforce the fact that his company trusts him even if current news events are affecting his performance or how he is perceived by his colleagues.

Encourage immersion in American culture

Timothy Dean Keeley of the Kyushu Sangyo University points out that developing one’s linguistic skills in his new country of employment can be a huge source of self-empowerment for the assignee. He recognizes that increased fluency will further improve his performance, help him understand the locals, and strengthen his connection with his superiors and colleagues. It will also reduce any fears he has of being treated as an outsider. If the assignee comes from a country regarded with suspicion all the time about its intent, it’s going to be difficult for the assignee to fit in. He will need to immerse himself in American culture and get along as much as he can with his American-born colleagues.

Without adding more pressure, you can include online language classes as part of his learning programs. And then, conduct weekly or bi-weekly conversations with yourself as part of his exercise. These sessions will also help you to track his progress in the confidence area. They will also be an opportunity to show him that he has a strong support system with you—which can be critical in boosting his self-confidence.

Finally, when it comes to enhancing his cultural knowledge, take him on another tour of more culturally open communities like the ones in northern California. Seeing foreigners like himself welcomed by the locals in ordinary settings like restaurants, malls, markets, banks, and other institutions can erase any apprehensions he might have of being rejected or ignored. But don’t forget, he has to learn to adjust to his American-born colleagues’ culture as well, so they will get to know more of him or her.