GET REAL

Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Confidence and Composure—Key Success Factors

Hi all. Thought for my post today, I’d share the following article, that I had published in the business section of our local paper this week. We know it’s the soft skills that sometimes delivers the hardest punch—in a good way.
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Published in Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY, Tues, Sept 13, 2011:
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As leaders, when we possess and demonstrate confidence and composure, others are more likely to trust, engage, and follow.

Although there are physical aspects (i.e., posture and body language, strength of voice and presentation, effective written communications, etc.) that demonstrate confidence, the most significant factor is our own belief in the direction we are providing.

It’s not uncommon to have our confidence shaken. We may become overwhelmed with the responsibilities associated with making crucial decisions and creating strategies that carry risk, even when the risk is well-measured. However, as leaders, we have a responsibility to navigate through uncertainties in order to confidently and promptly come to a decision, communicate the goal, and guide others toward it. We can do this through our own resources, knowledge, and experience and/or collaboratively through the resources, knowledge, and experience of others.

Also crucial is our ability to maintain composure in tough situations. A cool and confident demeanor helps to minimize anxiety in others. There are special circumstances that may call for a genuine and appropriate level of emotion. However, in general, our ability to remain calm and focus on the business impact maximizes the influence we have on overall morale and employee effectiveness.

Being self-aware is especially important in difficult circumstances. When we’re aware of ourselves becoming emotional we may be able to shift our vantage point to calmly consider all available data and parties. Ultimately, our ability to calmly respond versus emotionally react will generate more opportunities to engage others instead of alienating them.

Although maintaining confidence and composure is not always easy, the ability to demonstrate both, in any situation, creates invaluable opportunities to have a significant and positive impact as a leader, coach, facilitator, and role model.

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