Money Matters

Self-confidence at work

June 19, 2017
By Sirajuddin Aziz

MANAGEMENT

‘The pleasure that arises from inward beauty, serenity is due to the confidence that one has in one’s own inner truth.’ (Yi Tung) Self-confidence is ‘a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgement.

All failures of humanity are the result of man’s lack of faith and confidence in his true self. Self-confidence is the key to success. Confident people carry on themselves the contagious viral of giving and promoting confidence, to those with whom they interact. They make others confident. Many management gurus and writers say that self-confidence can be built up by listing your key achievements, determining what is important to you, where you are, where you want to go, indulging the mind towards positive thinking and then committing oneself to being successful.

Confidence and resolute protection of universally accepted principles of behaviour, integrity and uprightness are the spirit and soul of virtue. Self-confidence requires no weapon or arms. It feeds on itself and grows stronger in the long term, if it is properly nurtured.

A confident person knows his ability and aptitude well; the self-confident is expected to take on challenges, avail opportunities, handle difficult circumstances and take full responsibility if things go wrong. Self-confidence and self-esteem are not the same thing and must not be confused.

People possessing high degree of self-esteem need no crutches of status, position or even wealth- they treat their own selves with respect’; they carry no fear of failure or rejection; they willingly accept others and are open to amend themselves, due to the quality of resilience that they possess.

A wavering sense of self confidence is bound to create an army of cowards within the institution. A manager’s capacity is determined by the confidence possessed and shown. ‘Self-trust is the essence of heroism’. (Emerson). Belief in one’s self. Having courage not to alter or bend convictions are signs of self-confident managers. Such take firm stand against practices that call for compromise in the institution. Self-confident managers simply refuse to exercise the choice of silence over the dangerous route of speaking the mind- because they have no fear of consequences, especially when the view held is based on high grounds of values and morality. A self-confident individual knows best how to keep and confront bosses who are willing to cut corners of impropriety behaviour’ and in doing so they do not fear the call of sacrifice they may have to make.

Self-confidence must always lead towards being absolutely truthful. The opinions can’t be masked. On issues of conviction, self-confidence, should not be a victim to the passively internalised belief of diplomacy- in other words, succumbing and submitting to expediency. Expedient position taking is not a reflection of a self-confident manager.

Self-confidence is not to be misused. It does not give anyone a licence to snoop around in the organisation to see if there are any bad or corrupt practices at work and then make a scene about it…No.

Does self-confidence mean you are willing to throw caution to the wind or throw in the towel at the drop of the hat… does it mean carrying an ‘undated’, ‘unsigned’ resignation letter all the time in your jacket’s pocket?  I had a colleague much senior in age who confused himself to extreme lengths between self-confidence, self-esteem and over confidence- any challenges of arguing against his point of view, he would pull out ‘the resignation’ letter with certain belief that it would never be accepted. He stopped this behaviour, only when I called off his bluff by taking it from his hand and marking it for acceptance to the head of HR, in his very presence. Within 24 hours he retracted. A misplaced case of misunderstanding between confidence and over confidence.

In an organisation, invariably while there are handful, who go towards building self-confident colleagues, there are a plenty whose assignment it appears is to kill, murder and injure beyond recovery any signs of self confidence in colleagues. Particularly direct reports. Bosses or managers who rule by intimidation, like publicly insulting colleagues are essentially out to destroy any signs of a ‘self-confident’ team. Over a period of time, colleagues who discover that they can’t ‘take on’ the bully boss, due to compulsions of their needs for a job, a salary, begin to mute their feelings and opinions. They choose to remain silent. Here the organisation without obvious indication starts to breed a large populace of disgruntled managers, who merely sulk in the corners, causing actively induced, passive resistance to new or even existing initiatives. A manager who fails and does not learn to thrive on the self-confidence of his team is bound to meet his waterloo in the shortest timeframe.

To know and to see, what is right and what it ought to be and then not to do it, is a clear case of lack of self-confidence. A good manager while naturally exuding self-confidence will always bear and never fail to keep in mind that the individually held belief and philosophy of management remains articulated by both word and deed. A word of praise for any good work by the supervisor boosts confidence of colleagues. Self-confidence must never be confused with over confidence.

Danger breeds best upon over confidence. Samuel Johnson once remarked in The Ramblers, it generally happens that assurance keeps an even pace with ability. Over confidence is testimony to great deception. And holding one’s opinion that is not based on logic or rationale is the greatest mirage managers suffer from. Nature is not deceptive. We manipulate and attempt to deceive nature albeit, always in vain. False sense of confidence brings to earth the over confident.

Someone who exhibit in their persona a general lack of conviction to their views, ie lack of confidence held on the opinion, will surely be chopped into minced meat every single day, while the vile manager would enjoy and relish having it for lunch every day. Take on the manager upfront if his ideology or way of working is against norms, not when he is not present but do so in his presence. Doing a behind the scenes act reflects that colleagues of such make up are essentially hares that enjoy pulling a dead lion by the beard- a spineless spectacle indeed.

When you howl with the wolves then surely there is ample lack of self-confidence. The ability to not do what the Romans would do in Rome, is a fair indication of the possession of the quality of self-confidence and conviction. A manager motivates his team; if he has the conviction that they will do whatever it takes because they are made to believe they can. It is just not possible that difficulties would not surrender to those managers who display a strong sense of conviction based on the truthful foundation of self-confidence.

‘There is one blessing only, the source and cornerstone of beatitude- confidence in self’. Superior talents succumb to doubt while mediocre with brimming self-confidence but low in talent would go much further in life and achievements. To boost confidence do more of what you fear most. A library of achievements and experience will pour into your confidence coffers.

Lack of self-confidence has never instigated any great human enterprise or endeavour. All perceived difficulties arise from lack of confidence. The famous and my one-time favourite tennis player, Chris Evert had once said, ‘In a decisive set, confidence is the difference.’

What is the foundation head of self-confidence? And where can you find it? The answer is best provided for by Franklin D Roosevelt, “Confidence …thrives only on honesty, on honour, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.”

A manager with self-confidence will lead the rest.

The writer is a senior banker and freelance columnist