Why Confidence Is Always A Leader’s Best Friend


Why Confidence Is Always A Leader’s Best Friend

By Victor Lipman, Forbes

“As a leader one of the things that’s most important is to know your team needs to see you as confident.” – Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors coach

I love this simple, valuable insight from Steve Kerr. It’s every bit as important in business as in sports.

We often talk about the big marquee leadership qualities like charisma, authority, strategic thinking, and the ability to present eloquently to an audience the size of a filled NBA arena. Good old confidence is as valuable on an everyday basis as any of them.

As a Harvard Business Review article on confidence-building succinctly puts it, “Very few people succeed in business without a degree of confidence.” Yes indeed.  Effective management is no place for timidity. You can get knocked around from many sides: from above and below (your own management and your employees) – plus throw in a Board of Directors, a sales force and some irate clients, and the ever-present uncertainties of highly competitive markets, and it’s easy to see why confidence is a leader’s best friend.

In hard or uncertain times, of which there are many, employees want to be guided by a leader who projects confidence. It send the right calming message, as do its close first cousins, resilience and optimism.

People don’t want to follow leaders who show uncertainty and anxiety. Fear is contagious. As is confidence, but in a more productive direction. As Kerr says in the quote at the outset, “your team needs to see you as confident,” with the unspoken implication being… even if privately you may not completely feel that way.

But as a leader the public face you show to your team always matters. A lot.

Bullish on confidence. A generation of younger basketball fans might only know Steve Kerr as the wise, successful coach of the Golden State Warriors (currently recovering from a spinal cord leak injury), and might not realize he also hit one of the most memorable jump shots of all time – the final-seconds shot that gave the Chicago Bulls the 1997 NBA Championship.

Of course, the player who allowed Kerr to get open and passed him the ball for that championship shot was Kerr’s slightly better known running mate, Michael Jordan, who knew a thing or two about confidence himself.

Jordan was famous for, among other things, his ability to miss, say, 9 jump shots in a row without registering even a flicker of concern, and then take the tenth with not a nanosecond of hesitation and the supreme self-assurance that one would go in. Which it usually did. Now that’s confidence.

Article originally appeared on Forbes.

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