Aim Higher: The importance of leading with confidence 

Lead with Confidence



Picture this if you will: a locker room before the championship game, with everything on the line, and the coach has gathered the players together to present a plan on how to beat their traditional rivals.

“Here’s what we’re going to do,” Coach says. “We’re going to play well. Very well, in fact. You,” pointing to one player, “are going to really excel. And you!” pointing to another, “are also going to play a great game, as you always do!” It goes on like that, with generic praise and no real direction. Confused and disheartened, the players trudge out onto the field and, predictably…do not win.

What’s missing? Specifics, of course!

A great leader–on the playing field or in a conference room–knows that people don’t respond well to generalized praise. A great coach knows which players are needed where, understands the competition, and has a game plan ready. That’s especially important during moments of stress.




Be Specific

I’ve sat in meetings and seen the looks of confusion on the faces of my team when presented with tough, new problems. But when I get specific about the skills we need to meet those challenges, things perk up. And when I can go around the room and indicate which person is a great match for each role, you can feel the self-confidence levels rise. My specific confidence in them–built on an understanding of their abilities–gives them the self-confidence they need to win.

That’s a very important role for leaders: getting specific about “soft skills” like self-confidence and finding ways to identify and improve them.

In this episode of “Aim Higher,” my panel of experts and I discuss how you can approach this critical skill as a leader and make it work for you and your team. We address how to separate ideas of arrogance from self-confidence, how to build confidence in yourself, and then how to expand the conversation to cover organizational confidence. We also have tips on how to think about issues of nationality, gender, body-language, health, and even vocal tone when it comes to thinking about confidence within a company culture.

Click here to listen to Aim Higher.



Be Purposeful

Self-confidence can be taught—but only if you get specific and, like so many other leadership goals, purposeful. Listen in… I promise you’ll take something useful away from the conversation.







Image Credit: Kea Mowat

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