Guest post, by Bill Treasurer
Leaders are likely to get a butt kick during some point (if not many times) during their career.
Butt kicks are life’s mysterious and painful way of reminding us of the dangers of too much or too little confidence.
There is a delicate balance to leadership. Let’s breakdown the extremes and discuss what the sweet spot is—finding the perfect balance.
When we believe in ourselves more than we should, when we put more stock in our skills and capabilities than they actually warrant, when we start all tasks from the presumption that “I got this,” overconfidence begins to distort our leadership. Overconfidence causes us to make decisions impulsively fast. Overconfidence causes us to trust our judgment over the judgment of others.
When we are preoccupied with the potential for failure at the start of every task, when we hyper focus on risk mitigation, and when we continually delay decisions by deferring them for others’ approval, underconfidence is at work. Underconfidence causes us to be timid, hesitant, and unoriginal. When we lack confidence, we don’t trust our ideas—much less fight for them. We cede to the ideas, perspectives, and preferences of others. Consequently, we lose the opportunity to shape decisions and effect change.
The Perfect Balance—Confident Humility
Followers follow leaders who are confidently humble. For our leadership to be assertive, decisive, and firm, we need to have confidence. For our leadership to be authentic, giving, and supportive, we need to have humility. Confidence and humility are complementary and counterbalancing forces that fortify the potency of leadership. When our actions are directed by confidence and humility, we are truly operating out of our best self.
The leadership ideal, then, is to become a leader who is both highly confident and genuinely humble.
So how do you get confidence?
- Increase competency— take what you’re already good at and bring those skills to an even higher level of mastery.
- Walk through your fears— list your top three work fears, then identify three specific courageous actions that you could take to confront each one. Confidence grows when you act with courage.
- Get physically fit—being good to yourself is the first step toward being good to others. Self- respect builds confidence.
- Build confidence in others— give what you get. The point of being more confident isn’t to acquire more personal power; it’s to be a source of power for others.
So how do you get humility?
- Stand next to something big— this helps you remember that you’re not the center of the universe; you are just a speck. Never forget that!
- Get spiritually fit— the best way to have a transcendent experience, which helps us rise above our petty selfishness and become a more generous member of the human community.
- Serve others—Get out of yourself by spending time with those whose needs are greater than yours.
When your confidence and humility are right-sized for you, you’ll start developing a more grounded and authentic leadership style. The more genuine confidence and humility you have, the less likely butt kicks become.
About Bill Treasurer:
Since 1991 Bill has conducted over 500 corporate workshops designed to strengthen people’s leadership skills, improve team performance, accelerate innovation, and help executives behave more courageously. Among his clients are Accenture, Saks Fifth Avenue, UBS Bank, SPANX, Walsh Construction, Hugo Boss, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Forest Service, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Veteran’s Administration. Bill’s insights about courage and risk-taking have been featured in over 100 newspapers and magazines, including the Washington Post, NY Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Boston Herald, Woman’s Day, Redbook, Fitness, and The Harvard Management Update.