Quality #5: Confidence

    Quote from Forbes Article:

    There may be days where the future of your brand is worrisome and things aren’t going according to plan. This is true with any business, large or small, and the most important thing is not to panic. Part of your job as a leader is to put out fires and maintain the team morale. Keep up your confidence level, and assure everyone that setbacks are natural and the important thing is to focus on the larger goal. As the leader, by staying calm and confident, you will help keep the team feeling the same. Remember, your team will take cues from you, so if you exude a level of calm damage control, your team will pick up on that feeling. The key objective is to keep everyone working and moving ahead.

    There is certainly a difference between cockiness and confidence. To me, the key phrase is this: Remember, your team will take cues from you, so if you exude a level of calm damage control, your team will pick up on that feeling.

    I have worked with people who are cocky. They are no fun. Always bragging about what they can do, or what they’ve done, or how they are better than so and so, with little action to back up their words. Confident people often are modest about their achievements, and somehow find a way to win every time.

    I personally think confidence is only possible with great preparation… otherwise, it’s just being cocky, and asking for a letdown. Some days or weeks are extremely full of very important things to do. Some days even I am a bit unsure if I can get things done. Peyton Manning once said, “Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.” And in a way, he’s right. Those who are unprepared feel the pressure of the unknown. And when you feel that pressure, it shakes your confidence.

    In special events, I pay attention to things even when I’m not intending to. I notice how a room is designed, I notice how waitstaff move about, I notice how colors blend together well. I mentally prepare for multiple plans, thinking to myself, “What if this goes wrong?” or “What if I have to change to that?” I’m almost always preparing for an unknown time when I’ll need to adapt.

    I remember once when I was at a friend’s wedding as a guest. I did not plan to work, but during the planning stages I was already preparing for a plan B. We’d set up a tent in the cocktail area at the front of the house, which as a plan A was just a nicely decorated cocktail space, but as a plan B was the rain-contingency. I’d also briefed her on the steps we would take if it would end up raining, so that she was fully prepared. And, as it happened, it rained. At first, it started off as a light drizzle. My friend – the bride – asked nervously what we should do, as we and the rest of her 80+ guests sat in the back lawn under the early evening sky. I looked around at all the guests, the caterers at the food stations, the sushi guys under umbrellas, and told her, “Ok, 5 minutes. If it doesn’t get better, we move to plan B”. I was cool, and in complete command of the situation. No rain was going to ruin our plans… just forced us to adapt a bit. During that 5 minutes, I spent it alerting the staff and key guests as to our plan to possibly make the move. Sure enough, 5 minutes went by, and it was still drizzling steadily. “Ok, I said, let’s go”. And off we went. The emcee made the announcement that we were on the move, the DJ, caterer, and sushi guys all moved to the pre-approved station areas in the cocktail area, and guests began to carry the tables, chairs, and everything from the back lawn to the front. I stayed in the front cocktail area to orchestrate the final placement of everything from the head table to the guest seating to the bar. While it was a bit of an inconvenience, it was totally a smooth operation. 15 minutes later, we were done. The party was back on, fully covered by a stunning tent filled with romantic lighting, and it was an amazing wedding reception.

    Being confident is more than just knowing you’re “good enough”. Being confident comes from being fully prepared for whatever may come your way.