How Leaders Defeat Insecurity and Build Bold Teams

You produce weakness in others when you exercise power unless you use power to fill others with confidence.

You cannot empower people by exercising power over them.

The work of successful leaders is easy to spot. Their teams walk around with heads up and minds open – eager to seize opportunities. But lousy leaders walk around beating their own chests and beating others down.

Chest beaters:

  1. Chest beaters enjoy kowtowers and butt kissers.
  2. Chest beaters expect everyone to adapt to them.
  3. Chest-beaters feel offense when others suggest alternatives.

Three principles for building confidence:

Principle #1: The person exercising power gains confidence. Give power by providing opportunity for people to make decisions and take action.

Principle #2: Conformity destroys the potential of diversity and talent. Embrace diversity by leveraging others to generate options.

Principle #3: Confidence acts. Insecurity holds back. If you want people to act boldly, honor initiative, learn from mistakes, and provide second chances.

4 ways to fill others with confidence:

  1. Extend trust. Power flows to those you trust. Walk around asking yourself, “How might I trust people in new ways today?”
  2. Train people to declare intention, rather than ask permission. Confident people say, “I intend to ….” Powerless people ask, “What should I do?”
  3. Provide minimum instruction to competent people. Detailed instructions disempower. Explain results, but don’t explain every step to achieve results. (Exemptions to this guidance include issues of safety, harm, and capability.)
  4. Seek suggestions:
    • What options do you see? (Generate three options by asking, “And what else?”)
    • What option would you choose?
    • What’s the next step?

Bold action is an expression of confidence.

Think about people who filled you with confidence. How do you feel about them? How might you be that person in your organization?

How might leaders fill others with confidence today?