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Harnessing the power of confidence

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Many people confuse leaders’ confidence with self-confidence. In fact, what’s important about leaders is whether they have confidence in other people.

Here are Harvard business professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s three cornerstones of confidence:
  1. Accountability. This means taking responsibility, facing facts and sharing them with your people. They, in turn, feel confident in you because they know you’re telling the truth.

  2. Collaboration. When the Northeast power grid went out in 2003, Continental Airlines employees managed to fly planes—even though the blackout hit two of Continental’s three hubs—because they knew how to take responsibility and knew their colleagues were equally able.

  3. Initiative. Here’s a negative example from a failing company: “Why do I have to have all the good ideas?” the company’s chief would yell.

    Consider all that’s wrong with that question. First, the chief is denying that anybody else is thinking or contributing. Second, he’s saying that anything his people do isn’t good enough. The result? People shut down.
— Adapted from “How Leaders Gain (and Lose) Confidence,” Leader to Leader, Leader to Leader Institute, Jossey-Bass.

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