Sometimes people find themselves in positions of leadership before their self-confidence has caught up with them, and are reluctant to lead.
Helping reluctant leaders to see themselves as the leaders they are, can make them more powerful. Here’s a story of why confidence matters.
Yesterday I herded cattle.
Not by myself, but with an eclectic group of 7 other novice city slickers out to try something new.
As we began our journey, I overheard our reluctant young cowgirl guide tell her friend “you know this is just so hard for me, I am not a leader, I am much better at following.”
She then proceeded to guide us on a journey which involved the complex balancing act of leading horses, cows, annoyed bulls, and inexperienced, unconnected strangers. Everyone followed. She knew what she was doing and she taught us well.
Under her competent leadership, we all worked together and herded the cattle just where they needed to go— having fun along the way. When one of us would get mixed up in the middle of the mooing mass, she would shout “you’re a cow!” That was our signal to move to a more productive and safer space. She used everyone’s name, and constantly checked in with each person on their feelings and how they were connecting with their horse.
She was indeed a leader.
Except for one thing.
She lacked confidence which surfaced in the way she spoke of herself.
“Oh, I am not very good at getting people’s attention.” “I really talk too much, it’s not good sometimes I just can’t stop talking.”
I watched as people were leaving, and I am fairly certain this impacted her tips.
She was teaching people what to think about her.
As leaders, what we say about ourselves matters a lot.
How can we help young leaders to feel more confident in their abilities?