Confidence is a combination of knowledge, understanding and skill, put into action.
To be truly confident we must have certain knowledge and skills to perform a task, or be confident in carrying it out, even if we make mistakes. They understand ‘process’- why we have it and why we use it, comprehending the value of structure and following a set strategy.
A confident character will take on a chore that he or she knows they can do; and they’ll do the best job possible, if they’re conscientious and they take mistakes in their stride, understanding that this is part of the process to gain ‘additional information’. These people are unafraid; they are fearless in work and in life.
They get ahead.
Others, sometimes painfully shy people, have all the knowledge and skills they need and more, but they rarely gain confidence. They’ll get on with the job, without the need to fill your boots with how good they are. Their preference may be to stay in the shade not wanting to be noticed, while the masses loudly declare their wares.
Arrogance is often confused with confidence but unfortunately for some people, it’s easily spotted. These folks will talk the legs off you in an attempt to show how great they are, but it’s usually waffle; if they’re authentically confident, they’ll also be quietly content, with no need to fill imaginary gaps in understanding.
Their lack of skill or knowledge on a subject should start alarm bells ringing – if you start smelling bullshit, it’s usually around somewhere. Pay attention!
Every single event brings learning, if we’re open to it.
Earlier I mentioned additional information; this is the stuff we gather unwittingly which could influence the next big decision. With a little conscious effort to begin with, we can gain a slightly deeper comprehension of a problem simply by paying attention to things that are happening around us, coincidences and serendipitous meetings, for instance. These things can help to enlighten us on a regular basis – if we’re open to it.
All the information we need, we hold somewhere within us; that might just be the information on WHERE to find information or WHO to ask, but we still have it. (I’m quietly confident about that).
So in my opinion we need 3 things to be confident; underpinning knowledge, skill and understanding of the problem or situation. Without these we feel less than able to competently perform our duties, sometimes leaving us feeling inadequate or ‘fake’ – depleting us of the energy needed to fulfill the task. Incompetence is just around the corner.
It’s in this zone that we’re prone to babbling and exhibiting nervous behaviours.
This is also the scary zone – the place where the ego can wreck the whole scenario, for fear of being exposed. The risks are great for someone not wishing to lose face; they’ll do anything to prove themselves or deflect blame.
The fear of exposure isn’t limited to individuals; it permeates many modern organisations, even those who claim transparency. Collaborative efforts and partnership working has in some ways been forced, due to funding changes and austerity measures over the past few years leading in my view, to both positive and negative outcomes.
Progressive, ethical companies partner with those sharing similar values and work well together. Those feeling threatened will most likely fear losing ‘power’ and find themselves working without trust, some staying in isolation or eventually closing their doors completely.
Communication is key…
Failure to provide information (knowledge) which enables the completion of tasks, could lead to less than confident companies and completely incompetent staff. In the long run, this will do the brand image no favours whatsoever. The likelihood is that negligence or lack of duty of care, will pop up somewhere, ruining reputations with its ripples.
In companies who maintain a high public profile but lack accountability, arrogance is rife – and protecting the corporate image is paramount.
Scapegoats are found here, often cast aside without a second thought. In more privileged circles, golden handshakes seal the deal.
Lesley’s next Confidence Boost workshop is on March 20th in Ayrshire.
To book your place, please click this link.