True Leadership Shines Through Darkness.
Generally, we look for confidence from others, especially in leaders, as a sign of reassurance and direction. That desire is heightened at a time of intense social uncertainty and discontent.
“We perpetually seek out confident people because they give a sense of safety, calm, and faith—our mirror neurons are always desperately hunting for those role models and leaders. In times of crisis, we obviously need that more,” said Alyssa Dver, CEO of the American Confidence Institute.
But we need to remember that these behaviors, whether genuine or impostors, might manifest differently in times of crisis. Everyone will experience anxiety. And nearly everybody, despite their best intentions, will have moments when their fuse trips and their patience reaches its limits.
The key is in regulating those moments. We may not be able to do so internally, but we can make efforts to contain the evidence of these stressors externally. The best leaders shine in times of crisis by figuring out ways to compose themselves first, and in turn, pass that confidence along to their peers.
“The best ones spend a lot of brain cycles to control their behavior. When they do that, it’s like putting their own oxygen mask on first. Only then can they help others,” said Dver.
It’s an essential takeaway for leaders at all levels. The COVID workplace is erratic, and it isn’t going to get much better post-COVID.
But good leaders will understand their limitations, check them, and lean on their people in the areas where their self-awareness tells them they fall short.
Lead by example, as the old idiom goes. Or, as Dver astutely put it, real influence comes from a quiet, generous confidence:
“It’s much less about what I say or tell you to do and much more about how I behave or visibly act – and how well I help others to be confident.”
The best leaders have already figured this out.