The Danger of Over-Confidence (Jeremy Kingsley)

Winning Well Connection

Jeremy is one of those kindred spirits who just picks up the phone every now and then and says, “How’s it going? and How can I help?” He’s a great role model of confident humility and understands that the real competition is mediocrity–the more we help one another’s businesses to grow, the more collective impact we can have in the world.

I’ve enjoyed sharing ideas and resources with him over the years.

The Danger of Over-Confidence

In this video, Jeremy Kingsley shares about bragging, ego, encouragement and the danger of overconfidence, via a story from history.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvAtsaAWMRY%20

Winning Well Reflection

“When you brag about yourself, that’s called ego. When you brag about someone else, that’s called encouragement.” There’s definitely a tension between telling the stories about yourself that build your credibility and visibility and not becoming arrogant or overconfident. We’ve both walked on either side of that line and appreciate the recommendation Jeremy shares to be confident in your abilities, yet humble in your attitude. What a great expression of confident humility!

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Who Decides Your Future?

It’s been a long day, turning into tomorrow, but I can’t get her out of my mind.  Ling (not her real name) bravely raised her hand in my Masters level leadership class tonight. “Professor, I see how these techniques would be important for someone who could accomplish something great, but it’s hard to apply for someone like me…”

I gave more examples and stories of how these basic techniques are easily used in motivating frontline teams or to stand out in an interview.

Again, Ling shook her head.

Let me step back and paint a picture. Ling is early in her career, from China, taking a masters level curriculum completely in English. Life is tricky. Visas are uncertain. She’s a rock star contributor– thinking deeply and expressing great insights. She cares, she tries, she knows a great deal. She’s scared.

Someone like me…

I paused to hear more.

Ling continued, “I’m not going to accomplish anything like THAT.”

Next, a few more few anxious nods. Not from the men.

And I’m left with the nagging question so many of us feel.

“Am I someone who could accomplish something great?”

Who, or what, limits our belief that we can be great?

What’s the right level of audacious hope?

I’m sure she’s thinking, “For God’s sakes Professor, just give me enough practical advice to land a job.”

We’ll go there. But I’m not sure that advice will work.

“One notch above” won’t differentiate or lead an employer to go the extra mile to take on immigration.

Being remarkable takes bold moves, differentiated thinking, and a really strong “why.”

In an uneven playing field who defines remarkable?

How do you build audacious confidence amidst a chorus of assimilation advice to “just fit in?”

This is not just Ling’s story.

Her journey is hard. Yours is too. You can be the guy who “accomplishes something great.”

In fact, we’re counting on it.

Karin Hurt, CEO

Other LGL News

I’m delighted to announce I’ve signed a book publishing contract with AMACOM with co-author David Dye. Working title is Winning Well:  How to Lead Your Team to the Top Without Losing Your Soul.  We’re headed for an early Spring release, stay tuned for ways to get involved.

I also had fun this week with a feature article on Yahoo:  What to Do When Your Boss Drives You Crazy

Are you looking for a keynote speaker or some support in taking your team to the next level? Please give me a call for a free consultation. 443 750-1249.

3 Ways Thinking Small Will Improve Employee Engagement

Great entrepreneural companies have a passionate spirit that feels like a gust of warm wind sweeping you off your feet as you walk through their door. It may be a bit hectic, but you want to tighten your shoelaces and run along. I’ve been working with some of these guys on strategy and growth, and it’s an exhilarating journey.

There are challenges of course, but I’m not finding them in the employee engagement arena. Employees are volunteering to help with the enthusiasm of Horshack in Welcome Back Kotter. 

I’ve also seen companies rush to get (or stay) big, and lose their edge. Vision turns into secret plans for the inner circle, lawyers cautioning against transparency, building a diversity “strategy” that translates into babble and ratios, leaders turning to HR for employee engagement, and somewhere along the line, someone deciding it’s time to start “stack ranking” performance.

As you become bigger, never forget the joy and freedom of being small.

3 Ways Thinking Small Will Improve Engagement

“From a small seed, a mighty trunk may grow.” -Aescuylus

1. Be Real, Fun, Involved, and Empowering

An entrepreneurial CEO recently brought me in to help build leadership bench strength. Rather than “train,”  we built a vision, identified priorities and then a business case for a program with a significant spend but a massive ROI.

The CEO stayed out of the room until the team presented their “case” along with theme music and dramatic visuals at the end of the day. His eyes glistened, and his comments were brief, “If this works, this will be gold.” Then he laughed and said. “Hold on, I’ll be right back.”

He then came back with a large, professionally printed version of a previous plan to tackle the same issue that had failed. He said one word. “Execution.”

After his eight word caution, he funded the project.

They executed flawlessly.

A well-mannered, “I believe in you, don’t screw this up,” goes a long way.

2. Keep the Vision Visible

Despite the obvious common sense nature of this statement, I’m always surprised at how rare this is. Sure you’ve got to hold some stuff close to the vest, but if you’re having employees sign “non-disclosures” right and left or are keeping your true strategy confined to a small inner circle, know there are a lot of dots not getting connected and a lot of brains thinking small because they don’t have the perspective to think bigger.

Folks feel the secrecy, which leads to a fast growing feeling of “If you don’t trust me, why should I bother?” Bothered and included leads to brilliance. Share enough information to stir positive, proactive angst.

3. Stay Humble

Small companies have the common sense to know they can’t know it all, and are not afraid to learn, read, and bring in extra support. I’ve only heard, “I really need to get smarter in this arena” from the small guys.

When you think you already know, you don’t learn.

In a fast-changing world, the confident and humble will outsmart and out run “I’ve got this.” Every time.

Be real, open and humble. Think smaller to think bigger.

employee engagementToday’s image is a word cloud based on your awesome comments (and emails) on Friday’s post, defining “employee engagement.” If you missed the chance to add your definition click here 

 

A 3 Step Process to Increase Your Confidence

“Oh the minute they made the announcement, I knew she’d be down on the field,” my husband told my parents over wine and brie. My parents both just smiled. As wacky as it sounded, they weren’t shocked either. In hindsight it was an audacious move, but I’d always wanted to sing the National Anthem over the microphone in a big stadium.

So when the master of ceremonies at my son Sebastian’s jujitsu tournament announced that their singer had bailed and they were looking for a volunteer, I raced down from the stands climbed up on the podium and grabbed the mic.

I sang. It wasn’t perfect, but I’ll never forget the sound of my high G reverberating through the stands, or the look of astonishment on Sebastian’s face.

“You’ve always been like that,” my mom shared. “I’m not sure where all that confidence comes from.”

As I’ve been helping others build their confidence, I keep coming back to that question. Just where does confidence come from? How do we best help feel more confident to give their dreams a go?

I’ve gone back and dissected a number of my other more ballsy moves. Here’s what they have in common.

A Simple Process To Increase Your Confidence

Have a Clear Vision of What You Want

Now, of course, I hadn’t been walking into every stadium hoping for my big break. But, singing the National Anthem was clearly on my bucket list. And each time the Orioles would broadcast a call for audition tapes, I’d always start practicing when I was in the car alone, knowing that someday, I’d send one in.

If you know what you really want, your heart will be ready to go before your rational mind starts chattering about why you should stop.

Guarantee Yourself it Won’t Be Perfect

I’m always humbled when I go back and read some of my earliest blog posts. I would never publish them today, and in fact have even considered taking them down. But I realize that doing so would be a huge disservice to anyone else working to build a platform. You become a better writer by writing, better leader by leading, better singer by singing, better lover by loving. There’s not much that doesn’t get exponentially better with practice. Starting messy is vital. If you wait until you’re perfect, you’ll get passed by the courageous fools out there practicing in the real world.

Change “Which Means” to “And So”

It’s easy to lose confidence when we’re a rookie. Change, “I came in last in the race WHICH MEANS I’m not very athletic,” to “I came in last in the race AND SO I’d better start running a bit more hills to increase my endurance.”

OR

“I didn’t get the job WHICH MEANS I’m never going to make it in this field” to “I didn’t get the job AND SO I’d better double the number of applications I do each week.”

Confidence begets confidence. We become better human beings by being human. We get better at doing by doing.

Know what you want, give it a try, and ask yourself “and so” after each setback.

In Other LGL News

audvisor karin hurtSpeaking of overly confident first steps that worked out just fine: I laugh now at the audacity I had to send Seth Godin (whom I’d never met) my first blog post (as you heard above, it was terrible). He was gracious enough to write back with encouragement. As I’ve kept working on my craft, I’ve had some nice opportunities to interact with him (same wonderful encouragement). Now we’re both involved in this exciting new launch. Pandora for leadership thinkers. I’d love for you to check it out and see what you think.

Role Models of Confident Humility: Profile #1 Jesus Christ

When I think of role models of confident humility, it’s hard to imagine a better example than Jesus. Born in a manger, washing feet, hanging out with the poor; yet let’s face it, he had some pretty big asks. From time to time in 2015, I’ll be showcasing examples of leaders across a variety of contexts lead from a place of humble confidence.

This Christmas it seemed only appropriate to start with Jesus. Let’s have some fun with this one in a big virtual Christmas party. Even if you’re not Christian, there’s a lot we can learn from Jesus as a human leader as well. I’ll start with a few ideas, gathered from some of my Lead Change Group friends to get us started.  Grab some cocoa and add your thoughts.

“Confident humility says I can love you and serve you, even if your actions don’t deserve it.” -Chery Gegelman

Confidence

lead from who you are | stand up for what matters | speak the truth

  • Calming the raging storm
  • Walking on water
  • Taking on the establishment

“He knew who he was. The attitude of everything he said was confident based on who he was and what he was going to do.” – Mike Henry Sr.

Humility

know your vulnerabilities | admit mistakes | invite challengers

  • Washing the disciples feet
  • “Into your hands I commend my spirit:” Submitting to crucifixion
  • Note:  I’m curious– can anyone think of a time where Jesus admits he made a mistake?

Connection

listen carefully | understand perspectives | collaborate endlessly

  • As a young boy, confident enough to discuss God with the priests, yet humble enough to submit when Mary and Joseph came back for him.
  • Hanging out with outcasts and children
  • Telling stories

Vision

imagine more | invite bold possibility | do what matters

  • Energized a strong, diverse team to drop everything and follow-him
  • Strong ideas that challenged the status quo
  • Drew a compelling picture of life after death

Thanks so much to Johann Gauthier, Randy Conley, Jane Anderson, John Smith, Paul Larue, Chery Gegelman, Bill Treasurer, Mike Henry, Sr, and Paula Kiger for their insights on this topic that served as a basis for this post.

In Search Of Confident, Humble Leaders

Do you know (or know of) a leader who is a role model of confident humility? Well known or not? Please drop me a note for consideration for a 2015 profile in confident humility.

Merry Christmas.

Thanks so much for being such an amazing part of my year.

In Peace and Joy,

Karin

Helping People Find Their Voice

Even the most confident among us sometimes lose our voice. Everyone needs encouragement every now and then.

A Story of Voice Losing and Finding

Our church is exceptionally progressive when it comes to women in leadership. In fact, the ministers and all church staff are women. And yet, we have this big deal tradition– a fundraiser auction– which has been historically led by male auctioneers. Something just didn’t seem right about that.

After hearing enough behind-the-scenes chatter on the phenomenon, I mentioned my/our concern to Bob, the auctioneer lead.

“Why are there no women on the stage? Why are they all behind the scenes?” He looked surprised, “Not sure. I guess no one’s expressed an interest. There used to be a woman who did it.” That wasn’t quite enough for me, ‘”Who have you asked recently?” It was friendly banter, and he said he’d work to change it up next year.

We picked up the conversation 10 months later, when my phone rang. “Karin I’m doing the line-up for the auction. I’d love for you to be an auctioneer.”

Oh boy. I’d wanted SOME woman to do this. But didn’t really see myself in the role. Sure, I’m a speaker, but “go bidder bidder” wasn’t exactly my style. But what could I say?

“I’d be honored.” I smiled and thanked him for his follow-through.

So that year, I donned an evening gown–in some feeble attempt to have the congregation notice there was a woman at the mic. I did the best I could (or so I persuaded myself). But honestly, I had a hard time finding my auctioneer’s voice. I’d give myself a C at best. I was a little sorry I’d brought the whole thing up.

Generously, I was asked back again this year.

Time for an upgrade. As I looked at my auction item list, I realized that the first few items really leant themselves to song. If you haven’t heard this before, I was voted “most likely to burst into song” in high-school, so this is not really a stretch thought, but the wacky place to which my brain orients naturally.

But stay with me… There was a grown-up women slumber party, just calling for a round of “Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee.” Or the poker night, “Luck be a Lady Tonight,” from Guys and Dolls. You see?

And so I went for it, belting out the attention-getting openers. The crowd smiled.

A few items in, it was time for our dinner break. I checked in with my veteran auctioneers. “Oh yeah that works,”  they were all with me using the non-traditional approach. When I confessed I had no idea how I would sing about sushi, we brainstormed ideas (we landed on “Fish Glorious Fish (Oliver style).” Richard on sound gave me a thumbs up and adjusted the mics for the new sing-to-sell approach.

We sold a plenty of sushi.

When taking on an uncomfortable role, it may feel safer to play the role as it’s been played before. But that’s not always what will bring the best results. Digging deeper to find your most natural voice (and encouraging others to do the same), may be the best way to inspire confidence and improve results.

4 Reasons Underdogs Will Rule the World

The playing field was clearly uneven, but the “visiting team” had chosen to come and play by our rules: An underdog team at its finest. I was teaching executive presence and communication to MBA students, 30% for whom English is their second language. The final assignment was TEDdy talks, 5 minute speeches in the style of TED.

I knew the assignment was stacked in favor of the American students. I was sure I’d have to give them the benefit of the doubt in grading. Not so. After the talks, I asked the students to rate “best in class.”

On both days the international students won by a landslide. My non-English speaking students out-performed the Americans in their own tongue. Why?

A Few Theories

They Didn’t Expect a Handicap:  There were no office appointments asking me to understand their plight. They just got in there and worked it.

They Were Deeply Committed: This course was an elective. They could have easily spared themselves the agony, but they wanted to improve.

They Welcomed Feedback: Throughout the course I had been worried that their accent would make it hard for their English speaking audience to understand. We worked on pacing, pauses and in some cases volume. They nailed it.

They Embraced Vulnerability: Each of these students grounded their speeches in their own vulnerability. They told THEIR stories with a passion that drew us in.

They Worked Hard: They embraced their disadvantage, and incorporated the tools and techniques we discussed in class. They clearly had practiced, again and again. There was no winging it involved.

Sometimes confidence is over-rated. Swimming upstream takes more work. Hard work produces results.

Beware of the side-effects of your own confidence. A humble underdog may be nipping at your heels.

Humility Matters: 9 Ways Confident Leaders Remain Humble

We want to follow people with confidence, charisma and a strong sense of direction. Confidence inspires, attracts, excites and ignites. We think, “they sure do seem to know what they’re doing” And yet, I have observed that confidence, without humility, can be dangerous. I have seen it significantly limit a leader’s effectiveness. They stay their course, but may miss important input. People may follow, but not with their full spirit. Truly confident leaders are secure enough to embrace and share their humility. In the long run, their humility makes them stronger.

“What the world needs now is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left.”
~Oscar Levant

Michael Carroll describes the “talent of humility,” in his book The Mindful Leader. He shares that when leaders understand they are part of a much bigger scene that is not fully within their control, they are free to show up more human. It’s from that humility, that they can confidently show up to do the best work possible. They offer more of their whole selves to the moment.

“Humility is how we express our delight– how we appreciate the simple pleasures and great joys. And equally, humility is how we open to life’s inconveniences and devastating tragedies. When we are humble, no experience is beneath us, no colleague is unworthy, no moment does not merit our full attention. Because we are humble, we do not pick and chose– savoring only the tasty parts of life and leaving the rest for others. We are wiling to experience the entire situation directly and work with every detail.”

I have been observing the leaders I admire who seem to striving for confident humility. Here’s 9 things I’m picking up. Please share your thoughts on the 10th.

9 Ways Confident Leaders Express Humility

  1. Understand they don’t have all the answers– and search for more
  2. Attract those who will tell the truth– and be able to hear them
  3. Reflect on their own leadership– and seek out change as needed
  4. Read about other approaches– and adjust
  5. Seek out mentors– from all levels
  6. Share more about themselves and create connections
  7. Seek to learn about the people they work with– and see them as people
  8. Try out new behaviors and ask for feedback
  9. Take stands against the politically correct choice
  10. ??? (please share your thoughts)