How To Be A Confident Executive.

The definition of CONFIDENCE is — Belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities, self-confidence, self-reliance, assurance, certitude. Does this sound right to you?

Or do you understand confidence in your life to its secondary definition — Presumption or impudence?

When I talk with clients, I find there are varying degrees of confidence - total confidence, situational confidence, interpersonal interaction confidence, or no confidence whatsoever. My job as a coach is to help build and fashion my client's confidence level to suit their needs and to help them excel at whatever they do.

Let me give you an example: When we discuss the state of their career, I try to cut-to-the-chase and ask one question: Is your career Growing or Shrinking? I tend to be quite severe when asking questions like this (I don't believe in a flat career - only growing or shrinking). What do I get? Immediate and honest answers that allow us to look at the symptoms and diagnose immediate actions.

Those Actions are patterned around a very famous 'organizing' principle that comes directly from a colleague of mine - Matt Baier. When it comes to Organizing (your office, house, life), you have three choices: Act, File, or Toss. Pick up a piece of paper . . . Act on it, File it, or Toss it. It's that simple.

Now back to confidence. A confident executive is a person who clearly lives in the Act, File, Toss arena. In every interaction or decision, they either Act on it, File it away for later assessment/action, or Toss it away and stop focusing on it. They don't worry about it. They don't obsess on what the other person might think. They Act, File or Toss. They 'de-emotionalize' it.

An Example: A peer of yours 'challenges' you with a pointed (and irrelevant) question during your presentation to your team. Let's disregard that that is a shitty thing to do (it happens all the time) - but you have to respond. Let's look at how this confidence model works:

  1. Act - Answer the question as efficiently as possible. Short, sweet and to the point. Move on quickly.
  2. File - Delve into the question - qualify it, have them expand on it - and let them know that you will take it offline after the meeting due to length of the answer.
  3. Toss - Acknowledge it and immediately move it to a "parking lot" sheet on the wall to discuss later if their is time (and you will never get to it).

Other confident attendees will immediately understand what you are doing and they will pat you on the back for handling the colleague. You are not being a jerk - you are eliminating all emotion and focusing on a number of present issues: the meeting has to end on time, you have a lot of info to present, the question asked is not relavant, and you have to take charge of the situation.

The next time you are put in a position that will test your confidence, take out all the emotion and make a decision - Act, File, Toss.


P.S. Want to build up your confidence a bit? Let’s talk. I’ve worked with thousands of people who wanted to take assertive steps in their career — call or email me to schedule a complimentary session.