Nine Qualities of Truly Confident Managers

confident business ownerConfidence is not bravado, or swagger, or an over pretense of bravery.  Confidence is not some bold or brash air or self-belief directed at others.

Confidence is quiet: it’s a natural expression of ability, expertise, and self-regard.  And its necessary if you’re managing a business or employees, so it’s no surprise confident business owners and managers share a number of qualities:

  1. They take a stand not because they think they are always right… but because they are not afraid to be wrong.  Truly confident people do not mind being proven wrong.  They feel finding out what is right is a lot more important than being right.  When they are wrong, they are secure enough to back down graciously.  Truly confident people often admit they are wrong or do not know all the answers:  intellectual bullies never do.
  2. They listen ten times more than they speak.  Bragging is a mask for insecurity.  Truly confident people are quiet and unassuming.  They already know what they think: they want to know what you think.  Truly confident people realize they know a lot, but they wish they knew more… and they know the only way to learn more is to listen more.
  3. They duck the spotlight so it shines on others.  Perhaps it’s true they did the bulk of the work.  Perhaps they really did overcome the major obstacles.  Perhaps it’s true they turned a collection of disparate individuals into an incredibly high performance team.  Truly confident people do not care – at least they do not show it. (Inside they are proud, as well they should be.)  Truly confident people do not need the glory; the know what they have achieved.
  4. They freely ask for help.  May people feel asking for help is a sign of weakness, implicit in the request is a lack of knowledge, skill, or experience.  Confident people are secure enough to admit a weakness. Saying, “Can you help me?” shows tremendous respect for that individual’s expertise and judgment.  Otherwise you would not ask.
  5. They think, “Why not me?”  Many people feel they have to wait: to be promoted, to be hired, to be selected, to be chosen.  Truly confident people know that access is almost universal.  And very quietly, without calling attention to themselves, they go out and do it.
  6. They do not put down other people.  Generally speaking, the people who like to gossip, who like to speak badly of others, do so because they hope by comparison to make themselves look better.  The only comparison a truly confident person makes is to the person she was yesterday – and to the person she hopes to someday become.
  7. They are not afraid to look silly.  Running around in your underwear is certainly taking it to extremes… but when you are truly confident, you do not mind occasionally being in a situation where you are not at your best.  Oddly enough, people tend to respect you more when you do – not less.
  8. They own their mistakes.  Insecurity tends to breed artificiality; confidence breeds sincerity and honesty.  When you are  truly confident, you do not mind occasionally “looking bad.”  You realize that when you are genuine and unpretentious, people do not laugh at you.  They laugh with you.
  9. They only seek approval from the people who really matter.  You say you have Twitter followers, Facebook friends, a professional and social network of hundreds.  That is great.  That pales in comparison to earning the trust and respect of the few people in your life that truly matter.  When we earn their trust and respect, no matter where we go or what we try, we do it with true confidence – because we know the people who truly matter the most are truly behind us.