Manager Confidence: Off the Charts or Lower than Low?

    Your employees and your customers can smell fear. When you are unsure of your prowess as a manager don’t fool yourself everyone can tell—and they’ll take advantage of it purposefully or just because they can. When you second guess every decision, every action you sabotage the very essence of what it means to be an effective manager.  You’ll find the people you deal with only following your lead when it comes to questioning your direction.

Building confidence doesn’t happen overnight and has to be constantly nurtured to maintain it for the long haul. No matter what your philosophies on management are, you have to agree, exuding confidence is a must. Take note on how to strengthen yours:

  1. Work with integrity. Take the responsibility for the energy you bring.
  2. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Build on your strengths work on your weaknesses.
  3. Determine your own core values. Stand by them so people around you can trust what you stand for.
  4. Don’t second guess yourself. Make a decision, move forward, learn from mistakes, and celebrate wins.
  5. Over prepare to stay ahead of the game. You’re the leader because you are supposed to have the answers. Make sure you do. Research, test, educate, role-play, envision… so on.

Don’t get overconfident. Faking it ‘til you make it will only take you so far. There are situations that will occur over and over again that will test you and rock your confidence to the core. Recovering from these must happen fast for not only your benefit but also anyone else you come in contact with. If you outline the items above and check-in regularly, you will be more likely to bounce back from the basic confidence killers that seem to go hand-in-hand with being a manager.

It always surprises me how willing we are to follow the person who has the most confidence in their direction. Right or wrong. I remember backpacking with a guy who acted like he was the expert navigator. We hit a fork in the path and instead of consulting the map he said with conviction, “We go this way to get to the water fall.” I remember saying,” I could’ve sworn we were supposed to head south,” but given that he was the keeper of the map and due to how he assured me he was correct—we went his way. Well ironically Lost Creek Wilderness stood by its name, and we found ourselves retracing our tracks a good 3 miles back in the pitch dark. I can tell you from one to many experiences that false confidence damages all leadership. Authenticity will always bring you the highest rewards.

That is why taking the time and thought to build your confidence will take you and your team to the next level. And as always, striving to be better than yesterday is just more fun and more fulfilling. So try this one on for size.

By, Shiloh Kelly, Vice President of Marketing, Red Book Solutions | 20+ years Cross Industry Experience | Corporate Marketing and National Sustainability Lead, BlueLinx |Chief Strategic and Creative Officer, Limelight Advertising | Strategic Marketing Manager, Vail Resorts


2 responses to “Manager Confidence: Off the Charts or Lower than Low?

  1. I agree with Kristin…this is a great post with great attributes listed, Shiloh. I have observed and identified 3 behaviors that cultivate 3 characteristics of confidence, which makes good managers better.

    The three behaviors are:
    1. Pay attention – We all get caught up in the activities that our jobs and personal responsibilities require. The tendency can be to ‘act’ or ‘do’ without paying attention to whether that was the best course of action. When a leader/manager is more intentional about achieving the best results while evaluating their intention with the outcome, learning takes place that guides your future steps.

    Characteristic #1 = Intentionality. I call this ‘succeeding on purpose.’ When you do something intentional and achieve what you were expecting, it leads to confidence.

    2. Write it down – RBS is the master enabler of making good managers better by providing tools to do so, Well done. Writing things down…even in the briefest of forms…is the least fun, but most rewarding when you start to see patterns. You can improve or change that in which you are aware. Apart from being aware, it is just guessing. Seeing patterns allows for predictability.

    Characteristic #2 = Predictability. Similar to the occasional golfer who never knows where the ball is going with each swing, so it is with the manager that can’t predict outcomes based on their actions. As Babe Ruth used to do, he would point to where he was hitting the ball. Predictability contributes to confidence.

    3. Debrief your actions – An important and often over-looked activity that benefits all who do so is to debrief each action taken. The Army refers to this as an After-Action Review (AAR). This process asks questions such as:
    – What was supposed to happen?
    – What actually happened?
    – What can we learn?
    – What do we do now?
    – Who else could benefit from what we learned?

    Good debriefs lead to continuously improved results, which allows for a manager, individual or team to repeat success in the future.

    Characteristic #3 – Repeatability. Those that know how to repeat successes they have already had are invaluable to organizations. The ability to intentionally and predictably achieve a successful outcome at will…or repeatably…is an asset every organization would like to have.

    Again, thank you for a well-written and articulated post that makes good managers better.

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