Develop Your Leadership

Do You Need Confidence, Or Courage?


Lately I’ve noticed a little trap that people can fall into. One they set themselves up for. Like so many barriers to our own success, it comes down to a choice of words.

That choice is between ‘confidence’ and ‘courage’.

Example: A client says she needs to build up the confidence to put a contentious issue on the table with her executive team. I ask her does she need confidence, or courage?

What’s the difference, you might ask? Surely we’re talking semantics? Let me suggest otherwise. (more…)

Fruitcakes Are Good For You

A couple of weeks ago, I got some feedback I didn’t want to hear. I’ve been working with a group of smart, ambitious, mid-career professionals over the past couple of months, teaching them strategies to define and maximise the next stage of their careers. I love this work, and I love working with those types of people. However, one of the challenges, for me at least, is that sometimes they can be pretty blunt.

Mid-way through our programme, participants were asked to complete a survey on how the process had been going. To my great delight, the vast majority of respondents were very happy and getting a lot of value. Except for one. An outlier who thought I was completely off the mark, teaching stuff way below their level, and that I needed to step it way up. Shudder. It was the first time I’d received feedback like that after working with many similar groups over the past five years. (more…)

How To See

This morning, driving through Wellington’s hilly terrain, I was playing ‘I-spy’ in the car with my eight-year-old son. He was trying hard to guess my word starting with ‘H’. After a few attempts (“Head”, “hands”, “horrible monsters…”) I decided to give him a clue: “They’re outside, and we are surrounded by them”. After a few more attempts, including another try with “horrible monsters”, he exasperated “Dad, I can’t see anything out there that starts with “H”!!!

Of course, the answer was “hills”, and they were in plain sight everywhere. You can imagine his face when I told him! That priceless look that said “how could I have missed something so obvious?”

We had a good laugh, and then a thought struck me: how often do we all miss the retrospectively obvious things right in front of us? Not so much things like lost car keys, but the more subtle things. Like the mood of the person we’re addressing. Or the patterns at play in our organisation’s culture, and how those patterns impact productivity and innovation over time. Those things, that if our current frame of reference isn’t attuned to them, we just won’t notice them, even though they’re there to see. (more…)