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 enjoy kowtowers and butt kissers.
- Chest beaters expect everyone to adapt to them.
- 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:
- Extend trust. Power flows to those you trust. Walk around asking yourself, “How might I trust people in new ways today?”
- Train people to declare intention, rather than ask permission. Confident people say, “I intend to ….” Powerless people ask, “What should I do?”
- 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.)
- 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?
How might leaders fill others with confidence today? Leaders need to be open to others suggestions, stand back and encourage them to use their ideas to the best of their abilities, you don’t need an iron fist to lead.
Remember life is a 2 lane highway!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle
Like the quote Tim!
Thanks Tim. “Encourage them to use their ideas.” I should have included that one in this post. Think…talk…ACT!
Solid, Dan. Besides the reality that no one can empower anyone to do anything, what a good leader can do is help people reframe things. They CAN dis-un-empower them by helping them see what is not working smoothly and to remove any of the myriad of roadblocks that get in the way of people and performance. Since “Trust is the Residue of promises fulfilled,” (Frank Navran), the simply acts of congruence to shared goals and values will put the floor under the feet to enable more people to climb that ladder.
Similarly, recognize the actualities and do not expect high levels of performance from those people who are capable of only mediocrity. One cannot teach that pig to sing and it wastes time and simply annoys the pig, to the detriment of all those around them.
Deal with performance effectively. As Michael Jordan said, “The ceiling is the roof.” (We, the supporters of UNC are still trying to precisely understand what that means, but it certainly does get you to think about results, right?)
Thanks Scott. Love your dis-un-empower language. Leaders who understand the importance and power of removing obstacles and smoothing the path go far. The danger is focusing on the work rather than on the way work is done.
Let me know if you figure out Jordan’s quote!
Top of the morning Dan,
Good blog today my friend. I truly believe there is but only 1 way Leaders can truly insprie the best from their subodinants. “You take the time to get to know them. REALLY GET TO KNIW THEM. Realise the skills and talents they bring to the table, (building a real sence of community in the process), otherwise how will you know where to place employees in the best position suited to thier strengths. A wonderful side effect of this approach is that you build a solid sence of community within your organization.
Give decision making authorty to those
who are worthy. Leaders that withold decision making authirity stifle enthusiasm and team spirit.
Encourage open communication. Create an atmosphere where idea sharing is welcome. Thus empowers people to particapate.Giving them a real sence of ownership in the organization. Set obtainable goals for induvuduals and teams that once reached are acknowledged publically with praise or a sincere ‘atta-boy’. People simply want to know that you care about what they do. In the end this creates a beluef in your people that ‘together’ your organization can turn tuff challenges and negative circumstances into positive outcomes.
Got to go my friend. Cheers to you and those that follow Leadership Freak.
“Happy Holidays to all!” Merry ho-ho!!!
Top of the morning to you too!
Adding the priority and power of getting to know people is great. True! We trust people who are interested in us.
Appreciate their story and strengths to build relationship.
Dan, great post – so helpful as many of us are developing goals to improve our leadership in 2018
Thanks Scott! I appreciate you dropping in.
A Great Post Dan.
Reading it I realise what a lousy leader I have been for prolonged stretches in my career.At times I have been a chest beater, At other times I have propagated ” My way or highway” mindset in the team.
Indeed all this arose from a deep-seated insecurity and the need to hold onto the space I was in. This of course presupposes the other fallacy of ” If I can hold onto my space, things would be what they are and I’ll be okay”.
In my life, I have found that whenever I succeeded, bi it in a project or as part of a team, it was always when I and my team mates were completely aligned to a future which each one of us wanted to achieve with a fervour so strong that we just didn’t have the time or inclination to discuss past issues.
I suppose while insecurity is something which would always remain somewhere deep down, we do hold the power to shift our perspective as I have mentioned above.