During my military career, I had the opportunity to work with many leaders. Some of the leaders were good, but others were great!So what was the difference? Confidence!
When I was selected to be the next commander of Alpha Company, I met with one of my mentors to prepare. She was a great leader and I valued her input. She shared her experience as a company commander. We discussed her lessons learned and specifics actions I should take to be an effective leader.
As we prepared to end our meeting, she gave me one more piece of advice. Although it has been many years, her advice has become an integral component of my leadership style. So what did she tell me? To lead with confidence! Of course, I had to ask why confidence was so important. She said, “Because confident people inspire confidence.”
She told me “as the leader everyone will take their cue from me. You will be center stage. Every action, choice, and decision will be scrutinized. It’s okay that you won’t have every answer and you will make mistakes, but always be confident in who you are and your ability.”
Over the course of my career, her advice has guided my leadership. During my career, I have dealt with many different leadership challenges.
Recently, I had a conversation with a young leader I am mentoring. She asked “how do I remain calm when everything is falling apart?” I told her what my mentor told me. As the leader, everyone is looking at me and my actions will determine their actions. She then said, “You are unflappable. The more chaotic things are, the calmer you are.” My response was “its part of leading with confidence.”
You’re in the chair now, so how do you lead with confidence? Well, it starts with knowing who you are. Ask yourself the following questions.
- What are my strengths?
- What makes me angry?
- What are my pet peeves?
- What am I afraid of?
Once you understand who you are, then you can communicate from a position of strength.
Remember, communication is more than the words we chose. It begins before we open our mouth with our body language. Remember to smile and to walk slow, especially when moving from one location to another. When speaking, chose your words carefully and use silence to enhance communication.
Confidence is a learned behavior. It is a leader’s best friend; therefore it is important that you learn to lead with confidence.
Now that you’re in the chair, what will you do to lead with confidence?
Kim D. Moore
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