As you know, there are leaders and then there are Leaders. Small “l” leaders are leaders by position. Capital “L” leaders are leaders because of influence and their ability to deliver remarkable results. Just because someone is a business owner or entrepreneur (or CEO or President or Managing Partner or Executive Director, etc.) does not make them a capital “L” leader.
Now, while there are a number of distinguishing factors that separate these two types of leaders, one of them is their level of confidence. When you meet a great leader there is almost always a sense of confidence (not arrogance) about them that’s almost visceral. Note: arrogance is a self-defeating proposition when it comes to leadership (but that’s for another post).
Since, as a business leader, your desire is to build a more scalable and successful business (that is the Wired To Grow way, after all), I thought you might appreciate a little insight into four things that confident leaders do. So, what are they?
I. They Trust Their Gut
Whenever you or I encounter a small “l” leader, they frequently fear making a call or decision when it’s needed. Instead, they’ll often postpone making a decision until there’s a sense of consensus or actual consensus so that the decision doesn’t ride solely on their call.
However, when you find a great leader, it’s not that they have to make every call, it’s that they trust their gut when a decision has to be made. There’s a sense of confidence that, in light of all the information present, this is the right call.
Note: This doesn’t mean that great leaders don’t invite discussion and/or debate (see point two). Nor, does it mean that they don’t do research and ask for people’s opinions. No, what this principle means is that when a confident leader has to make a call, they don’t spend time second guessing themselves. They look at all the data points, weigh the options, and then trust that whatever their guts says to do, that’s the right call to make.
Even if it turns out to be the wrong call, a confident leader doesn’t waste time rethinking, “Did I make the right call?” No, great leaders know that no one makes all the right calls. But they also know that the way you learn to make great calls is by making decisions and learning from the outcomes—both good and bad.
In essence, great confident leaders live out one of General Patton’s famous lines
“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
So, do you trust your gut or not?
II. They Invite Differing Opinions
While great leaders like to trust their gut when the moment of decision arrives, that doesn’t mean they don’t value discussion and debate (as I hinted above). In fact, one of the things we can see clearly in the lives of confident leaders is that they’re never intimidated by other people or their opinions.
Small minded and less confident leaders fear discussion and debate. They feel the need to be “the smartest person in the room.” They don’t want dissenting voices or anyone to disagree with them, especially publicly.
But confident leaders have no such hang ups. They don’t want “Yes men and/or women” surrounding them. They want people who are “smarter than them,” in the room. They want the best brains working on whatever problem they’re facing. And that means that they want people in the room who will disagree with them from time to time.
In fact, I was in a meeting this week and when I noticed that no one was taking a position opposite from me I said, “Okay, who disagrees with that? Let’s get a debate going here!” Why? Because you and I rarely get the best ideas when group think takes over or when people are afraid to challenge an idea. So, invite it. Ask people to take a differing position. Then debate the ideas and see which idea wins.
Confident leaders aren’t afraid of “losing” a debate. Either their idea was the best one or someone else’s was, but who cares who had the best idea? Confident leaders just want to find the best idea.
So, how are you doing at inviting differing opinions into discussions at your company?
III. They Only Hire A Players
As I mentioned above, great leaders want to surround themselves with people who are better than them at whatever that person’s specialty is. They want to harness the best brains and talent possible. They’re not intimidated by someone who’s “better” than them at something, which is why great leaders only hire A players.
On the other hand, small “l” leaders, who don’t possess the confidence of a capital “L” leader, don’t want to hire A players. They want to hire C Players so that they themselves are the “smartest person in the room.” They don’t want others, especially those close to them, to be more competent or skillful at what they do, which is why they tend to hire C players (and an occasional B) to make themselves feel more confident and essential to their business (or organization).
However, if you’re confident in who you are, your self-esteem is never affected by other people’s capabilities. Instead, you’re excited to hire people who you know are great at what they do and who will deliver great results.
So, looking at your current org chart, how many A players, B players, C players and D players do you have? Based on those numbers, how are you doing at surrounding yourself with great talent?
Remember, the success of your business is largely dependent upon the quality of the talent you’ve attracted to your business.
IV. They Sell Everyday
Whenever you or I run into a confident leader, we’re almost always in the presence of someone who’s selling whatever they’re offering. It doesn’t matter if it’s a confident pastor or a confident entrepreneur or a confident physician or a confident entertainer. Whenever someone is confident in what they offer to deliver, they believe that you (if you’re in their target market) have to have what they’re offering.
On the other hand, whenever you or I encounter a leader who’s not as confident in their business or core offerings, that leader is rarely in sales mode. If you ask them about what they do or what their business offers, they’ll answer you, but they won’t try to convince you that what they offer is what you need. It’s just kind of out there.
However, the confident leader believes (to the core of their being) that what they and their company offer matters—and everyone (meaning everyone in their target market) ought to possess it, which is why confident leaders are always selling.
Everyday when they get up, they can’t wait to convince other people that their solution/product/service is what that person needs (and needs now).
So, how are you doing with selling what your company is offering? Is it an everyday experience for you? Do you believe to the core of your being that everyone in your target market ought to have what you’re offering?
If you want to take your leadership to the next level, one of the keys to getting there is developing an unshakeable sense of confidence in your own abilities and decision-making, your company and its employees, and your products and services. So, how are you doing at …
1. Trusting your gut
2. Inviting differing opinions
3. Only hiring A players
4. Selling everyday
If you’re weak on one or more of the above, start by asking the “Why?” question and then coming up with a game plan to turn that around because the more confident you are as a leader, the faster your business will grow.
To your accelerated success!
P.S. If you have some other practices of confident leaders (or other thoughts about this post), make sure you add them to the conversation below in the comments section (or click here >> if you’re reading this by RSS or email)