Chances are you’ve had a manager who sits on the far left or right on the Confidence Scale. I’ll explain.
On the far left is the Mousey Cautious Meek Tentative Timid Uncertain manager. She’s exhausting because she’s so busy trying to get you to like her that she never truly leads. Her passivity leaves you wondering what are your priorities and you end up deciding for yourself, hoping you’re doing the right thing. She doesn’t advocate for you because she doesn’t know how to advocate for herself much less anyone else. She is driven by fear that someone will find out she’s got nothing to offer.
On the far right is the Cocky Arrogant Presumptuous Conceited Egotistical manager. She’s a pain in the rear because she steals your ideas and presents them as her own. She yells and talks down at you and your peers. You just can’t win. She uses smoke and mirrors to cover for the fact that she doesn’t actually contribute much to the party. Like her counter part on the left, she is driven by fear that someone will find out she’s got nothing to offer.
We’ve all worked for one or both of these characters and chances are high that we’ve been one of them at some point in our careers. It’s natural to feel like an impostor when you start managing and it can be terrifying. It gets confusing – do I make a show of bravado or do I sit in the back row and wait to be called on?
I recommend aiming for your truth. I call this Quiet Confidence.
Quiet Confidence is being ok with not knowing the answer to everything and asking for help from the right people. It’s being focused on the people’s needs AND the work to be done equally. It’s taking classes to improve as needed. It’s building relationships with peers, direct reports, human resources, and superiors. It’s reaching out to safe people to help guide you as you learn and grow. It’s falling on your face, laughing or crying as is appropriate, and getting right back in the game.
Quiet Confidence is knowing the value you bring. Your excel spreadsheets, compassionate approach with clients, ability to do math in your head – the list is different for each human being and there’s value in it all. With this deep knowing of your Absolute Value comes Peace. It enables you to also know the areas you need to develop. Learning is key to a satisfying job, so your manager hopes you have more to learn or you’ll leave from sheer boredom.
The key to Quiet Confidence is defining (with a coach or therapist or trusted business friend) what your Absolute Value is. It’s very hard to do this alone, as we are our own worst critics. It often takes an objective person to articulate your special You-ness in a way that helps you recognize that your [fill in the blank] is a gift.
I promise you, you have gifts that benefit others. Fill in your blank.