SELF-CONFIDENCE TOOLS AND STRATEGIES
Success in the workplace is tied to self-confidence, which is a key competency in the self-awareness cluster of Emotional Intelligence. According to the author, “a confident leader exudes a strong self-presentation and expresses him or herself in an assured, impressive, and unhesitant manner.”
Henry Fisker, the CEO of the luxury car company Fisker Coachbuild LLC and one of the leading automotive designers, is a Star Performer full of confidence. He is profiled in detail, and shares his 10 Secrets & Current Practices that make him a successful, top performer:
1. Take Private Time. Fisker takes one hour and a half each day at lunchtime to exercise and contemplate problems. He explores different angles and solutions until he gets a “feeling” and decides the best course of action.
2. Get Third Opinions. He believes it is valuable to solicit and get others’ viewpoints even if he is confident in what he thinks.
3. Evaluate Capacities. Fisker makes it a regular practice to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of his team. He then understands individual capacities and when he needs to make a decision he is able to delegate tasks based on strengths.
4. Shoot From The Hip. Fisker believes that employees do not like to be over-managed, and want to feel motivated. He therefore prefers the perception of quick and firm decisions like ‘shooting from the hip.’ His decision making process is in fact more calculated and he relies on the first three secrets to base his decisions and empower his team.
5. Go With That Gut Feeling. Fisker advocates this visceral approach as it allows for quick decision-making and is more accurate than logical thinking. All experiences have an emotional component.
6. Take Initiative. Taking initiative defines a Star Performance based in confidence. After the ‘gut feeling,’ Fisker evaluates the risks associated with it and if deemed appropriate takes action.
7. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses. Leaders should be cognizant of their weaknesses. He defines weaknesses as “things you could do, but don’t like to do.” Preferring to lead with his strengths and excel, he delegates to others things he likes to do the least. This keeps him “energized, creative, and competent.”
8. Take Responsibility For Your Mistakes. Fisker promotes leaders being honest with themselves and admitting to their mistakes in order to learn and grow. Being responsible for one’s actions leads to clarity and less problems down the road.
9. Reinforce People. Fisker is adept at motivating his team members. He asks questions to stay abreast of what they think and do. By engaging them, he is able to recognize and support their hard work.
10. Be Willing To Make Decisions That Are Exceptions To The Rule. Being successful at times means not following the rules and procedures. Fisker asserts that a leader needs to weigh the consequences of a decision, decide if it is worth the risk, and then act on it.
To emphasize, Nadler offers ten proven strategies to try and further improve self-confidence:
* Being On Your Case Vs. Being On Your Side. Many leaders have defective evaluation systems, are overcritical of their own performance, and rarely satisfied with their own success. “Being On Your Own Case” leads to erosion in self-confidence, unhappiness, and unintentional treatment of others in the same way. A faulty evaluation system can be changed by reframing it to “Being On Your Side” and will result in improved confidence and greater awareness of how an individual evaluate their self and others.
* Reflections on Thinking. It is common to have an internal dialogue. According to the author, the issue is the type of internal questions that are asked. Negative questions such as “Why didn’t I say something smart at the meeting?” produce negative answers, which heavily erode confidence. Paying more attention to the internal questions will help to take control of negative self-talk.
* Busting Perfection: Creating Realistic Expectations. Perfectionism is a form of self-evaluation that stunts performance and sets leaders up for failure and frustration. There is a ‘perfection loop’ where unrealistic expectations are set without critical thinking that creates an unconscious pattern of failure. One must become aware of the unproductive pattern, understand the steps that cause it, and know how to break the cycle. The goal is to set realistic and attainable expectations.
* Success Rules: Who Is Running You? Many leaders are living by rules for being successful that are outdated, rigid, and over-generalized. This unconscious behavior can be re-programmed to enhance self-confidence otherwise there will be feelings of dissatisfaction and failure. Writing down and becoming aware of the rules that drive performance is an important first step.
* Success Log. Nadler advocates writing a success log chronologically with age brackets. The goal is to get a clear picture of many successes in life which are sometimes forgotten or minimized. Reviewing the list builds confidence.
* Current Success Log. The next strategy is to keep a current log of daily or weekly achievements and successes, and after a few months to analyze it to define personal strengths.
* The Five Pivotal People In Your Life. Another useful tool to build confidence comes from Dr. Phil McGraw. He believes that each of us have five pivotal people who represent a positive force, and contribute to a sense of self-confidence and worth. It is useful to write these people down, and reflect on their influence.
* Visualization. Regularly visualizing and mastering the most challenging situations as leaders will improve confidence. This practice creates neural pathways that make the actual performance more natural.
* Decisiveness. Strong leaders act as consensus builders. It is better for leaders to delay sharing their opinions early in the decision-making process and take the role of facilitator with the group. Their views can come out at the end of the process, bringing all the information together, resulting in a better decision. Decisiveness then requires a timetable and action.
* Thin-Slicing. Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, coined the term ‘thin-slicing’. He defines it as “the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on narrow slices of experience.” Very successful executives are adept at utilizing intuition when reaching decisions, and it is a skill, argues Gladwell that can be cultivated by others.