How to boost your confidence

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Confidence. Is it a mysterious word for IT people, is it something that other blame us, or just another skill that we are pushed to develop because it is a trend? Why do we really need to be confident? Hm.. maybe because we have to believe in what we create (program, code, product etc) and show that to others, maybe because we need to convince our team, boss or client about the solution that we suggest or just because we need to trust more ourselves and our abilities. Whatever the reason, we need to be confident, and to be honest is not our strength point. So let’s see how we can develop it:

Confidence is dynamic and not a static emotion. Is not 0 or 1 as we used to. Just like a physical muscle that needs exercise to grow stronger, a leader’s confidence requires continuous attention. So how can you build and sustain your confidence muscle? Here are some tips:

Recognize your strengths: If you dont know your past you can not build your future. So self awareness is a key factor for your confidence. Make a list of your success stories, your skills and what you are “the best at” and then use them to boost your self-esteem

Believe in yourself: the Latin root of the word “confidence” is con fidere, which translates to “with faith.” So believe in yourself and your abilities, keep in mind the purpose behind every action that you take over and be passionate

Be prepared: “The best way to build confidence in a given area is to invest energy in it and work hard at it,” says Schwartz. You have to work hard and practice lot of time. Professionals make communication and presentation look easy. That’s because there is a lot of rigorous rehearsal behind that performance. You can even record yourself, to evaluate not only what you say but also how you say (your non verbal communication)

Do it your way: Confident people aren’t only willing to practice, they’re also willing to acknowledge that they don’t — and can’t — know everything. So yes practice a lot, prepare and read materials that may help you to perform better, but DONT copy paste! Find your special and unique way to deliver, add your personal style, make it yours. Then you won’t need to worry about performance

Nix negative self talk: You may be an over-thinker with lot of negative self-talk rolling around in your head. I m sure that lot of time you hear a voice that tell you “are you sure about this decision” or “maybe you are not ready yet” or even worse ” you can’t do it”. So take a breath and think positively.

Worry less: Spotlight effect, in social psychology, means seeing ourselves at center stage, thus intuitively overestimating the extent to which others’ attention is aimed to us. So research shows that others may hardly notice and soon forget what we agonized over (Savitsky & others 2001). So the next time you feel nervous about looking nervous, pause and remember that other people noticing less than you might suppose

Get feedback: Ask someone who cares about your development as well as the quality of your performance to tell you what he/she thinks. A third person can observe things about you and help to develop more. As Noel Tichy, professor of University of Michigan says, you need to get out of your comfort zone and go to your learning zone, which is quite hard to do it by yourself and you need people to guide you and give you feedback

Here is another great TED talk about body language and how confidence you look like

It’s going to be a long destination, but starting with these small steps you can see soon some great results. Take action now and let us know how you do!

What confidence tips work for you? Share them with us here

What is your leadership style?

If you search on Google the word “Leadership” you will get back more than 300 MILLION hits! What does it mean for YOU to be a leader? Can you define leadership in a way that works for you, and helps you discover the leader within?

Interest in this topic goes back many centuries and was written about extensively by Plato, Sun Tzu, and of course many others. Over time countless theories and models have emerged about leadership. You can skim some of these theories in theWikipedia article on Leadership, or better yet, have a look at this presentation about different leadership schools by  Bert De Coutere.

If you want to define your leadership style there are widely used personality tests like Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) (a free online test here), DISC personality theory, Big Five Factors etc. A simple way is the map that Inc. has created based on leaders’ behaviors.

There is a very interesting approach of this topic from Center of Creative Leadership. Instead of putting the entire weight of leadership on individual managers and their capabilities, they think that it is important to examine how the whole system is involved in making leadership happen. In the whole system perspective, leadership happens in the interaction and exchanges among people. More concrete, they mean Direnction, Aligment, Commitement (DAC) happen in every system. About DAC approach and how to implement you can read the white paper that they released.

Moreover, two researchers from MIT validate “distributed leadership” models like DAC in their article It’s not all about you, but also suggest the need for balance between networks and individuals to achieve leadership.

Another interesting video from HBR blog:

So there are tones of articles, scientific researches, new perspectives and more and more but at the end all these theories will keep being theories if you don’t try, you don’t challenge them, you don’t fail you don’t achieve.

So please go out there and experience, don’t wait for the right moment or position, because we don’t need any role to act

What do you think?