It’s not always possible to be confident that your decisions and actions are correct. People will allow you the occasional moments of self-doubt and introspection.
However, there is a limit to this concession and extended periods of anxious timidity will be frowned upon by both your bosses and team members.
The fact is we feel reassured by people who appear to be confident, particularly if they are admired or more senior in the organisation. The assumption is made that more senior people have the full picture, have a plan, know where they are going and know how to get there.
This clarity suggests all is well, everything is under control, risks are contained and no one needs to worry.
Whether this is true or not seems to be unimportant. It is enough for people to have the perception that this is the case in order to be reassured.
This is not to suggest leaders should attempt to deceive staff that everything is under control when the truth is chaos. It does, however, say that when presenting a plan, leaders should make a point of being, and appearing to be, confident that the plan is the right one in the current circumstances.
This can be done by the verbal and non-verbal elements of how the message is presented and also through the structure of the content. Simple, clear communication that is accessible to everyone in the room will always work better than a convoluted cluster of facts, figures and steps.
If the truth is that you don’t know what to do next, then a clear, honest admission followed quickly by a plan to resolve the uncertainty and bring things back into your control will reassure your audience.
Great plans can be undermined quickly if they are presented in a timid fashion. If you adopt a tentative style to deliver the message, people will quickly conclude that you don’t believe the plan will work, or that you are hiding something important.
Again it is not a requirement that you are full of arrogant charisma, dismissing challenges to your ideas with a sweep of your hand or that you shout your message from the pulpit.
t is possible to be confident whilst remaining quiet or low key. The really important elements are clarity, consistency and a determination to implement the plan.
One small step in the next 24 hours
Ask a trusted colleague to pay particular attention next time you speak publicly to your team.
Have them gather specific observations of your non-verbal mannerisms, the tone, pace and intonation of your voice, the language you use and the response from the audience.
The actual topic is less important. You are really seeking feedback on the extent to which you presented confidently and instilled confidence in the members of your team.