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Recent Blog Posts:

The Confidence of a Humble Leader

Not “The Arrogant or the Wimpy Leader”

Is it possible to be confident and humble at the same time? If you equate confidence with arrogance and humility with uncertainty then you would probably say, “no”.

What is Confidence?

Humble confident manOne of Webster’s definitions of confidence is, “faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way” [1]. That describes the kind of confidence we want to have in our leaders and want others to have in us as leaders. If we take another of Webster’s definitions, “a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances” [1], that sounds like self-confidence that could be good or bad depending on how we use it.

Let me suggest a tweak to that second definition that I believe better describes the self-confidence of a healthy leader: “a feeling or consciousness of our team’s powers or of reliance on our team’s ability to navigate the circumstances”.

Being and Being Under Authority

Authority vs. Individualism

Electricity is a good thing until it electrocutes someone. Authority is like that – a good thing until it’s not.

Not to be political, but the example is too obvious to overlook: America is seeing its founding strengths of freedom and independence morph into an extremist individualism that is hindering our ability to work together and make progress. We’re increasingly unable to trust and unwilling to submit to authorities.

What does that say to us about authority within our organizations? We might like to think our employees’ separate their attitudes about government authority from organizational authority. Maybe. But I suggest the default posture is that authority is authority whether in the home, work, government, or elsewhere. If you want to be seen in a different light, it’s up to you turn on the lamp.

Getting the Tension Right

Leveraging the Power of Opposition…

Tensions: Maintain high standards…cut them some slack. Focus on the task at hand…don’t lose sight of the big picture. Be yourself…continually improve yourself. Be consistent…know when to make exceptions.

The Power of Tension

The human thumb is an amazing appendage shared by only a short list of other animals. Its power comes by working in opposition to our other fingers. Imagine how limited we would be if our thumbs just lined up parallel to our other fingers. The tension created by our thumb opposing the other digits creates extraordinary new capabilities.

Good leadership also requires us to harness the tensions produced by opposing ideas.