Leading from Confidence or Fear
Our dog, Magnus, is great.
Except when he isn’t.
When I take him for a walk, he performs exceptionally well. He behaves on the leash, lets people pet him, and enjoys interacting with other dogs. You can see a pep in his step, and he moves with confidence as he walks through the park.
There are other times when he’s not at his best. We can be in the same park, surrounded by the same people and the same dogs, but, for some reason, he becomes fearful. He pulls on the leash, barks at people, and is not friendly with other pups.
I imagine that some people have seen Magnus on both his good days and bad days. They probably find it hard to believe he’s the same dog. After all, how can he be so confident one day and so fearful the next?
Many of us can be very similar to Magnus when it comes to leading others.
There are likely times as a leader when you feel very confident in what you are doing. You have confidence in your skills, and those around you trust you. You cast a big vision for what you want to achieve, bring out the best in everyone, and deliver results that no one thought possible. Everything you are doing is flowing from the confidence you have in yourself and your team. In turn, that same confidence feeds everyone to do even more together.
Then there are days when you are fearful. Afraid you might not deliver great results, uncomfortable with a given situation, or are feeling a bit over your head. On those days, you may find yourself acting not out of confidence but out of fear. When you do that, you think small, diminish others on the team, and barely crawl across the finish line.
I say all of this with great confidence because I have done both myself.
The good news is that unlike Magnus, who reacts to stimuli, we can choose our mindsets and our behaviors. One way to help us choose the best path is to remind ourselves of what happens when we choose confidence over fear.
Use this tool to help you to remember the importance of choosing confidence. It provides a visual reminder of what happens when you lead from a position of confidence versus fear.
Make it a great day!
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.