“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
How do Leaders Need to Project Confidence
Confidence is a key requirement in organizations and not just limited to promotions or interviews. Neither is confidence just required by those who need to step onto a stage. In the face of managers, confidence is required in every situation be it sorting out an issue within the team, facing a situation with a high-end client, negotiating a high stake deal, and so on.
Now when it comes to tackling situations, the manager would need to display confidence not just in what she does or what she says but how she does as well – needless to say, nonverbal communication plays a big role. Below are a few aspects of what confidence for a manager looks like, and how nonverbal communication is important.
Rati is known for her exceptional skills in handling any task with ease. But once she found herself in the middle of a very novel problem – the blame game that her team was playing on each other. The work was interdependent so any delay by one individual would lead to everyone suffering. She was baffled by this. She regularly held meetings with them to ensure transparency. Still, the problem persisted.
Oftentimes, it is not just the action of the team leader that can inspire a team. What authority Rati is able to command from them in times of such imbalance in the coordination of the team is crucial. Her confidence in tackling the situation plays a key role is getting the required actions out from her team.
Discussing appraisal can be an extremely unpleasant experience. Tim dreaded this time of the year. He wanted to finish it as soon as possible. He kept fixed slots and was one of the first managers to get done with his appraisals. He hardly asked or answered any questions of his team members. For him, numbers said it all even though his team thought otherwise.
For managers like Tim, facing the difficulty with more confidence is important. Because appraisals are not just for the manager to provide inputs to his team. Rather they can be viewed as opportunities to understand the team’s problems, tackle them where required, guide them if there are misunderstandings, and thus get a detailed sense of each team member once in a while. If Tim saw this as an opportunity to rebuild a connection with his team that might be getting lost in daily hustle and bustle, and the team members saw the efforts that Tim was taking to hear them out, the appraisal process could be less straining for all involved. How Tim behaves during this process is greatly determined by his body language so he would need to heed to that.
In a 2006 research a key finding was that disengagement is maximum when there is poor leadership and when there is low trust between managers and subordinates.
Handling complaints was a normal routine for Chetna. As a Sales Manager, she had come across numerous complaints which she had solved effortlessly. But for once even she was not confident of handling the situation. A customer was getting his vehicle replaced. The bike was much better both in terms of price and features for the customer. Still, the customer refused to take this bike. As he couldn’t believe that the company was giving a fair bargain. Since the customer was loyal to them for many years, Chetna didn’t want to lose him. But she was also sure of her employee’s capability and was stuck in the middle of the situation, unsure of what to do.
In situations like this, how the manager holds up their ground and reacts can either mend or tear the relationship with the customer. Managers need to be aware of their reactions and what would be the best way to convey to the customer that what was being offered was indeed the best deal. If things got worse, again the ability of the sales manager to get back to the company and negotiate a win-win for both parties is crucial. Knowing strategies to tackle such difficult situations would work well only if Chetna also understands what her body language should be like and how she should be emotionally intelligent.
In less than a week’s time, Martha wanted to accomplish the work for more than 10 days. She knew her team was capable enough to do the work. But what worried her was how to break this news to them. As they were already working really hard for quite some time now. She was never comfortable delegating extra work. This was pointed by and again by everyone around her.
Managers like Martha face new tough situations every day. Delegating work with the right authority is important to get work done. How she handles herself before handling the team projects her confidence as a team leader. If Martha knows that the right approach for getting the work done, she should be able to sound and look as convincing to her team when she inspires them to take up the challenge.
Managers face new situations almost every other day. How prepared they depend on their experience, awareness of different strategies that can be used, and their behavior as the situation unfolds. People skills play a crucial role for managers, and the role of nonverbal communication is multifold in each of these circumstances. I will leave you with some points to ponder:
- How can you tweak your behavior depending on the situation
- Could you tackle people better if you understand their personality and change your approach according to that
- Can mental rehearsal of different situations and awareness of expected behavior in those situations prepare you better for difficult situations
- Can such awareness make you a leader who inspires through their actions
Statistics reference: https://www.researchgate.net/