Confidence for Managers and Leaders

Leadership Team

Confidence is a key success factor for modern managers and leaders and yet many lack confidence in the following areas:

  1. Managing downwards when subordinates have higher qualifications or are qualified in a different discipline
  2. Influencing peers or external stakeholder when there is no direct authority
  3. Managing upwards even in a matrix organisation

I had two meetings in Singapore this week where Senior Leaders highlighted a need for increased confidence in the above areas, but I don’t think this issue is just related to Singapore.

With all three scenarios the key to confidence is personal power. Personal Power is like self leadership, it comes from knowing who you are and what’s important and exercising the right to choose.

When managing downwards, managers need to remember Henry Ford who said, “The generalist will always employ the specialist.” The manager doesn’t need to know everything about everyone’s discipline they need to know how to engage smart people to get the job done. Highly specialised people often miss the big picture and don’t connect outside of their discipline. The good leader knows a bit about a lot of different things and can therefore use the best skills or combination of skills within the team to get the job done.

Confidence to influence laterally comes from believing that your idea is a good one and knowing how to communicate the benefits of this idea or action to the other parties. In an age of social networking we should feel confident to socialise our ideas, after all, it is not the best ideas that get adopted but the best supported ideas.

To confidently and successfully manage upwards requires the manager or emerging leader to perceive their superior as a colleague rather than a boss. I don’t mean do away with respect or be over-familiar, but to realise that they are both subservient to the vision of the business/company. Just like influencing laterally, ideas that are framed as beneficial to the business will be well received.

When we succeed a something it builds confidence but we must have the confidence to attempt before we can succeed. If you require confidence to attempt something for the first time, remember Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance – so prepare and then as Nike says, “Just Do It!”

This doesn’t guarantee success everytime but with confidence we know we can receive feedback, learn from our mistakes and do better next time.

BTW this Blog has just made it to the top 100 leadership Blogs


    1. says

      So a study in psychology and communication is every bit as important as perfecting your craft. Great advice, and I think it applies to more than just business. After all, many areas of our life take on a sort of organizational structure.

    2. Alonzo says

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