How Leaders Gain Courage and Confidence

How leaders gain courage and confidenceDo you think leaders are born with courage and confidence and maybe even believe that they wouldn’t be leaders if they didn’t have this? If you think this you would be dead wrong. No one is born with confidence, both nurture and nature play a factor. The same is true for courage. There may be some internal wiring, something in our DNA that means we have a tendency in these areas, much like a tendency for certain medical issues in families. But, just like families, tendencies do not mean you are going to get the health issue, or courage and confidence.

Let’s assume some of us have that DNA gene, but most of us don’t. And if you aren’t born with it, how do leaders gain these traits? Keep reading this because I have the answer.

Courage and confidence comes from having a replicable process. You may be sitting there thinking either I have no clue what she is talking about or you don’t agree with me…I get it.  My request is that you keep reading and, if at the end, you don’t agree or have questions, post a comment and I’ll respond. Why would I say that these leadership qualities come from having a replicable process?

First, I want to define what I mean by that. A replicable process is any process whereby handling the steps in the same way each time, there is a strong likelihood you will come out with the same results. There’s no 100% guarantee because humans are involved, and no two scenarios are exactly the same, but statistically the odds are in your favor to get the same or similar outcomes. It’s not science, but it’s pretty close and that makes it significant, because you can trust science.

In science we learn that when you mix two ingredients under the same conditions the end result will be the same. What this does for us is build trust that if we always do X, Y and Z under those same conditions we can predict what will happen. That trust gives us the confidence to talk about it, to share the results, to explain to others how they can also achieve what we did and do it again. We build confidence in the process because we can, to a large extent, forecast the future.

Applying this to leadership is not a big leap. Leaders gain confidence by creating processes that are replicable and repeatable, as time has demonstrated that the outcome will be what they want it to be. A few examples. The HR department has to hire often for the company both due to turnover and expansion. They develop a process for recruiting, interviewing, questions to ask, steps to take…so that they don’t have to stop and ask, “what do I need to do next”. And they know if they follow the steps, in most cases, they will get candidates they want to hire, and who will say yes.

A sales manager creates a replicable process for his sales team. It helps the individuals identify exactly what they need to do to get the results they want…number of closed deals, revenue goals, etc. It helps the manager forecast revenue and more. Everyone knows what to expect. If you want more information on this topic as it relates to sales, please reach out to me.

The more often you can do X and have it produce the results you expect, the more confident you become in doing X. This is what I mean when I say leaders gain confidence by creating a replicable process. Taking this one step further, though, it’s also true that every time we do something that works the way we envisioned it, we develop courage. The replicable process provides the scaffolding to be the support we need to ensure success. It also provides us the courage to then try something slightly different.

Let’s say you have a product that flies off the shelf, it really sells itself. Not only do you likely have a great product, you have create a process behind it in operations, sales, manufacturing, etc., that supports the success of the product. Now you can tweak it a little. What if you changed the marketing just a bit. Does it change the results? Maybe, and because you have the process in place you know what to expect and you have a point of comparison. The replicable process gives you the courage to try something different and have a way to measure the success. How great is that?

I’m sure there are people who are courageous just because they are. They are daredevils or people willing to risk their lives to be in service to others (firemen, policemen, Navy Seals, Special Forces…). And even if they are born with this courage, what keeps them alive (the result) is practice and a process they go through and can count on, most of the time.

Courage and confidence come from leaders creating a process that is repeatable time and time again, and not just by them but by others. They can relax into the process without worrying about next steps, possible outcomes or anything else. It’s the roadmap they use and it tells them not only the direction, but if they deviate from the path, allowing them to course correct and get back on the path. Even if you aren’t born with absolute courage and confidence, you can develop it through creating processes that are repeatable.

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