Our clients often say they like working with confident people.
Yet, some of what gets described as confidence is actually fear-based behavior.
What it’s not:
Confidence is not boastful, loud, conversation-hogging, aggressive swagger. It is not Ron Burgundy.
What it is:
True confidence is much humbler. Think of Jim Collins’ Level 5 leaders. His team’s research found that the most successful CEOs were people you’ve probably never heard of. They were great at inspiring loyalty and motivating people to do difficult things that took companies from good to great. Note, there’s nothing meek about this type of empowering confidence: quiet does not imply cowering.
Why Confidence Matters
Confident people are more likely to hear the ugly truth about their business before it hits the front page. That’s because Confident leaders create a sense of safety.
Acting with confidence is a gift to others. It signals that there is nothing to fear. It conveys: “You can let down your guard, be yourself, and talk to me without fear of me crumbling or attacking.”
When under stress, it’s easy to succumb to less-than-confident behaviors.
You may have an authority figure to whom you cower and someone else—a family member, direct-report, teacher, neighbor, or partner organization—to whom you swagger a bit. Perhaps you take out your frustrations and blame them when things don’t go as you planned or hoped.
Want to find out where you (or your team) fall
on the confidence spectrum?
Take our Confidence Assessment.
You might be surprised to see the behaviors that constitute cower, confidence, and swagger.
Building Authentic Confidence
Once you identify the cowering or swaggering behavior, you can direct your attention toward activities that will help you build authentic confidence. For example, you can catch yourself in the act of blaming or bellowing, and then choose another tactic.
Fake It till You Feel It
I once had a leader tell me that he wanted his new employee to be more confident and, if she couldn’t feel confident, to fake it.
He was on to something.
For, even when you lack courage, you can act confidently, and in turn, have more productive, relationship-building conversations. Over time, such results will help you feel more authentically confident.
We’d like to Hear From You
What behaviors would you add to our assessment?
Who’s your role model for authentic confidence?
And if you don’t recognize the two images above, check out Office Space.
“Of all the qualities in a manager conducive to innovation, a degree of uncertainty may be the most powerful. If a manager is confident but uncertain—confident that the job will get done but without being certain of exactly the best way of doing it—employees are likely to have more room to be creative, alert, and self-starting.”
— Ellen J. Langer, Mindfulness
Check out a Related post: What Size is Your Ego?