Lack of confidence as a leadership deterrent




Continuing with the responses to our survey analysis, lack of confidence is another big factor that was pointed out as a deterrent to someone taking up challenging leadership initiatives.

Lack of confidence is very closely related to fear of failure.

In this post, we look at confidence from a different viewpoint, and that is from your own perception of your abilities.

This viewpoint is your own expectations when you take up an assignment.

No matter what the end-result is, the expectation that you set up before taking on the task is a big contributor to your satisfaction or disappointment at the outcome.

Let me explain.

If Expectation was much higher than the Outcome, then there is disappointment at the end.

If Outcome is much higher than Expectation, then there is satisfaction at the end.

Usually, disappointment causes a dent in your confidence levels. And satisfaction boosts confidence.

Overly inflated expectations will widen the gap between expectation and actual outcome and lead to disappointment.

Unless you properly analyze and understand the reasons for disappointment or satisfaction, your confidence level will change.

It is in your own interest to maintain the resultant gap as small as possible.  For this to happen, you must set realistic expectations as you take on a task.

Take the example of two persons, one of whom wins a lot in casinos and the other does not win as much.  Next time when these two visit a casino, who do you think will be more confident of placing higher bets?

If you said the person who usually wins, you are correct.

You see, this person has tasted success in past endeavors.  He believes that he can replicate those successes going forward.  Perhaps he has a framework or a methodology worked out that gives him confidence and this shows in his readiness to place high bets.

Conversely, the other person has experienced disappointment and failures.  He feels that failure will strike again.  He does not have a framework to fall back upon.  Although he could devise numerous methods to avoid failure.  But that still does not give him the confidence of winning.

So be confident is to have victorious experiences.   Such experiences come from accomplishing challenging tasks (or at least one task) successfully.  To accomplish something, you have to take up a challenge.

Now this is where it comes full circle.  What if the challenge you accepted, ends in failure?

Then how do you react to the proposition of taking up the next challenge?

This is where you analyze the root cause of failure.

Then look very objectively at a few things related to the task on hand, such as:

 The nature of the task and what it would take to accomplish it successfully.

 The environment, and factors that would favor or hinder the progress on the task.

 Your personality, strengths and weaknesses and how they match up with what the task requires.

But one important factor in all this is your own expectation.

Try to set it at realistic levels based on your assessment of the various contributing factors.

Related readings:

In the following post, one of my favorite writers, Victor Cheng, describes the self-perception and confidence levels in female executives.

The following is an excellent post on overcoming fear and building confidence. The example of fear of speaking in front of a large audience is brought out quite well.

But what about lack of confidence and fear of failure in business? This is where you can experience real financial losses and severe setbacks that will scar you forever.  The following cites tips from eleven entrepreneurs for building self-confidence.  Interestingly, one of those is on your own perception and I particularly love the one about sending yourself a note from your “future” self.

Lastly, the following post provides excellent tips to building your self-confidence

I hope this was good reading and I look forward to your thoughts.  Please share, using the comments section below.

Image: (c); author: Quinn Dombrowski