Leaders Project Confidence and Humility

Because I’m a big proponent of The Ideal Team Player, with humility chief among its virtues, I worry people might think the concept of projecting confidence flies in the face of being humble. The opposite is true, however. Humility and confidence go hand-in-hand. 

One way to immediately see the connection is to tie humility to curiosity. When leaders are curious, they ask questions. Leaders project humility when they don’t assume they know it all.

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, is is possible to be confidently curious. Persistently learn more and role-model the process through your questions. Model a lack of arrogance by not immediately sharing your own point of view. Visibly take time to consider ideas before dismissing or embracing them.

Now, when it comes time to dismiss, embrace, or take action, it’s okay to do so confidently and boldly. Because the process of curiosity preceded these moments, they won’t negate the humility; but instead, humility will follow directly from your decision. The people around you may be inspired to practice the same process.

I encourage you to read a recent article which presents another point of view on this topic. In this article, the author points out other qualities that demonstrate humility but without a lack of confidence.

Finally, show gratitude frequently.

Thank people for their contributions and demonstrate appreciation for your circumstances. Also, avoid blaming others for mistakes. It’s okay to find root causes, but public blame demonstrates arrogance. Finally, never stop stretching and growing; confident leaders know they don’t know it all. In fact, we distrust leaders who act as though they have it all figured out all the time. Continue to model a path of personal development.

Thanks for reading,

Matt Pries

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