It’s Called Humble Confidence

Who would you rather sit next to on an airplane… the I’m-so-great-guy who tells you exactly where to go and what to do – and how he knows all the insider scoop from sports scores to restaurants to books to read, or the guy who offers ideas and suggestions, paired with modesty and gratitude? What if instead of on an airplane, you were picking your next colleague to fill the desk next to you at work?

If you chose the latter, you’re in good company. Last week, Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods, said in a WSJ interview that he wouldn’t hire someone with a “lack of humility and an over sense of self-promotion.” Neither Whole Foods nor Google (nor Decker!) will hire someone who has too much ego up front.

There’s a sweet spot, right in the middle – the place where Goldilocks would say, “Just right.” It’s an ability to appear confident without arrogance, to be self-effacing while still projecting strength and competence. We call this special quality humble confidence.

So how do you demonstrate humble confidence? You can address it through your behaviors and your content.

With your behaviors, your goal is to project both warmth and competence. Too much warmth and you’re a pushover. Too much competence and you’re overconfident and dismissive. Use the Behaviors of Trust to generate warmth and move up the Axis of Emotional Connection on the Communicator’s RoadmapTM.

And when it comes to your content, rather than “me-me-me,” adjust your Point of View to focus on them. Humble confidence empowers others rather than overshadowing them. It’s not “my way or the highway,” it’s collaborative. This urges others to step up and take the lead. A humble leader can step back and embrace the better ideas of others

Don’t just look for these traits on an airplane or in an interview. Go for the Goldilocks – find a way to show more humble confidence this week.

 

book_banner_blog

Adapt – Stay on Course

One of my favorite things in any race is when they show where racers should be, compared to where they are. They did it with Secretariat and American Pharoah (like the photo, above), they do it during the Olympic sprints, and we do it with ourselves and our yearly goals. … Continue reading

I Don’t Need to Prep. I Can Wing It.

Does your calendar look like the above? Many do. Just yesterday I was talking with an executive about an upcoming meeting. A few minutes into the conversation, he realized, “Whoa. This is a way bigger deal than I thought.” This is a critical week for meetings, as we’re all squeezing … Continue reading

Go Dark

It’s Thursday morning. You’re sitting in a meeting and trying to read from an overloaded PowerPoint and stay focused on the speaker. With every slide, it seems like more and more is packed onto the screen. Your eyes glaze over. It’s happened again – PowerPoint abuse.  But it doesn’t have … Continue reading

Three Biggest Mistakes that CEOs Must Fix

Here are the top three mistakes that CEOs make – and how to fix them. Mistake #1 – CEOs Read Speeches Consider the last acceptance speech you heard. The most memorable speakers of the evening are always those who share straight from the heart. What we don’t remember are the … Continue reading

Big Picture: What’s Next?

Baseball playoffs, scrambling to meet the sales quotas for this year, and – oh yeah – finalizing plans for next year. It’s October. If you’re not planning for next year, you should be. Here are three things to think about for next year’s annual plan: 1.    What’s your vision? Whether … Continue reading

“So” is the new “Um”

You know to avoid “um” and “uh,” but what about “so”? “So” is the newest filler word on the block. It made it on this list of words that can sink a job interview, and NPR calls it a “weasel word” that can make it seem like you’re trying to … Continue reading

Pause. Just Pause.

“I’m sorry I love you.” “I’m sorry. I love you.” What a difference a bit of punctuation makes. VW recently ran a series of ads that made this clearer than ever. A pause when you’re speaking is like including punctuation in writing. Learning to use the pause is a critical … Continue reading

What’s Your Mindset?

One of my extracurricular activities for the last four years has been coaching soccer. Now that our team is U9 (nine years old and under, for those of you without kids), I’ve just about reached the final year of my pay grade. Until this point, the biggest difference in the … Continue reading

Emotion Earns the Extra Mile

For Father’s Day this year, my three boys joined forces and created a special homemade book filled with memories about what I meant to them. It was bound together with a little help from Mom, I presume. And they presented it to me while we were away on a family … Continue reading