Agility. Patience. Poise. Unwavering strength.
These are all qualities displayed by true leaders in times of uncertainty. There are many things that can contribute to uncertainty, from increased marketplace demands to competitive factors. Leaders must display confidence to minimize the impact; indeed, how leaders respond to growing pressures directly speaks to their leadership preparedness, maturity, and acumen, according to Forbes.
This composure can be seen not just in what leaders say, but how they carry themselves. From attitude to body language, leadership in its most basic form is all about making colleagues feel safe and secure — not just about helping them increase their performance and effectiveness. Employees are sick of running on empty, trying to get ahead just to survive the jungle that is the workplace. They want to know they have a leader who will ensure their job security in tumultuous times. No one can do their best job during the day when they’re constantly looking over their shoulders and fearing for their jobs.
Avoiding Crisis Mode
Too many CIOs and other leaders are thrown for a loop when difficult situations are presented to them. While they may have all the credentials and experience in the world, some simply can’t handle the pressure of maintaining composure during times of crisis and change. This leads to ineffective leadership, because those individuals can’t adapt to the unexpected. A true leader can stand above the chaos, see it as a chance for opportunity, and overcome that adversity, all while maintaining composure. They can see beyond the present, institute change, and see it through to the other side. Instead of panic, there is calm.
This doesn’t mean the leader is a pushover. And it doesn’t mean he or she is lacking in temerity, steadfastness and grit. It means the leader pushes through the noise, sees it for what it is, and institutes a clear objective without backing down. There’s no doubt that uncertain times can test the mettle of even the strongest of companies. This is precisely when solid leaders must act in a decisive manner, setting an example that all can follow with confidence.
Tips for the Confident Leader
- Keep emotions at bay. Wearing your heart on your sleeve may be good in love and romance, but it has no place at work in positions of leadership. Good leaders don’t let their emotions get the best of them; they don’t yell, panic, stress out, or cast blame. They keep their feelings in check, push through, and channel that passion into a positive outlet of energy: solving the problem at hand quickly and efficiently. Expending all that emotional energy wastes opportunity and only tires you out for the real task.
- Don’t get defensive. It’s natural for people to take things personally in the workplace when things don’t go their way, assuming the unfair reality of office politics is the culprit. But while office politics do exist, the true leader doesn’t take a defensive stance; rather, he takes a proactive stance. It’s a simple reality that business decisions won’t always go your way. That’s part of living in a society. How you maintain composure and move on during those times of seeming unfairness will make all the difference. We all know people in our professional and personal lives who figuratively stomp their feet and say “that’s not fair!” every time they don’t get their way. Strong leaders don’t waste time taking things personally.
- Stay fearless. Showing vulnerability or uncertainty is contagious — just like a cold. Rather than infect your staff with fear, take a fearless leader approach and project a sense of calm under pressure. The projection of confidence helps you to act rationally, objectively, and fearlessly. And, also like a cold, that fearless attitude is catching among your staff. Having the confidence to step up to challenges without wavering will put a positive spin on those challenges and allow you to work through them with a clear head.
Maintaining confidence in your position of leadership is imperative in showing your colleagues and employees the right path.
When times get tough – and the mettle of even the strongest organizations is tested – the best leaders are able to act decisively and set a tone of confidence, says CIO Brian Thomas.