Leaders, See & Communicate Clearly on Confidence
by Kate Nasser |
When it comes to confidence, many leaders now realize that it is displayed in different ways between genders and in diverse cultures. Diversity requires seeing beyond our own perspective to know the truth about others.
Yet there is one commonly overlooked element of confidence that confounds leaders into misjudging their employees. How clear is your understanding and vision on this angle of confidence?
The overlooked element of confidence is performance goal.
The gap between the level of performance people expect of themselves and our non-communicated expectations of them affect our view of their self-confidence.
A True Short Story of Blurred Vision
- A student pursuing a masters degree was required to take a graduate statistics course as part of the degree at the university. Let’s call him Pat.
On the first night of class, the professor (Dr. Thick) said, “The adjunct professor for this class backed out and they have just dumped this on me to teach. I already have a full load. So I’ve decided that each of you will take one chapter, learn it, and teach it to the rest of the class.”
After the first student presentation, Pat realized that he was not going to learn statistics from the other students at the level he expected and needed in order to do his research thesis the following year. Pat spoke with Dr. Thick privately and highlighted that he would like the value of his high level of knowledge. Dr. Thick’s response was: “Evidently, you don’t have very much self-confidence.”
Pat dropped the class and took a graduate statistics course during the summer from another professor to be adequately tooled for his research work the following year.
Confidence was not Pat’s issue. The element that confounded Dr. Thick was performance level.
If he had explored more deeply he would have seen that Pat’s goal went beyond just passing the course. He wanted to learn graduate statistics at a level that would empower him to do a great research thesis the following year. Learning it from other students who knew no more than he did and were struggling with presentation skills did not meet Pat’s expectations.
Leaders, See & Communicate Clearly on Confidence
- What level of performance do employees expect of themselves? The more we get to know employees the more clearly we can see their expectations of themselves. If the level of expectation is very high, we might incorrectly judge a confident person to be weak. Communicate with them to reset expectations and see the truth more clearly.
- What personality type are they? If an employee is an analytic and thinks through everything before speaking, leaders often mistake this behavior as lack of confidence. It isn’t. It’s personality type.
Related post by MaryJo Asmus: Don’t Underestimate The Quiet Ones
- What did their previous boss expect of them? If their previous boss was a perfectionist with ridiculous expectations, it’s possible that the employees’ expectations reset to that unrealistic level. We then see them as non-confident. When we look more deeply, we discover true confidence has simply been masked by previous experience.
- Do We Confuse Questions as Lack of Confidence? Driver type leaders who crave end results have a tendency to mislabel curious or thorough people as weak. Curiosity and/or thoroughness appear as questions. How we as leaders interpret this behavior comes from our own skew. If too many questions are annoying, it’s much better to clearly communicate the behavior we prefer rather than incorrectly branding employees with the label of no confidence.
- How is fear blurring our vision? The more concerned we are about an outcome, the more likely our fear will blur our vision. The positive side to fear is that we may select a highly experienced employee for a critical project. The negative side is that our fears may lead us to overlook talent that could handle the project. The result is we don’t develop employees’ experience for the future and the organization’s performance suffers in the long run.
We engage employees when we explore, see, and communicate clearly. We demoralize the entire team when we misjudge, label, and brand their efforts through a skewed lens.
What else can skew our vision of confidence and lead the teams astray? I welcome your views and discussion in the comments section below.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.