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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, June 11, 2017 1:00 am

Exuding confidence helps inspire your team

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

It's all about the mindset. If that changes, so will behavior.

And we certainly have to model the behavior we expect, which includes confidence.

That advice was courtesy of Kevin Eikenberry last week, one of several experts interviewed by Michelle Pizer of Melbourne, Australia, for the fourth season of her “Crack the Leadership Code” podcast series.

It included two podcasts, averaging about 30 minutes each, for 17 consecutive days via an email.

Eikenberry, an author and Purdue University graduate, has a training and consulting firm based in Indianapolis. Known for his focus on what he calls “remarkable leadership,” Eikenberry's coaching touches on topics ranging from team building to performance management.

Getting the best out of your team, Eikenberry said, is more likely when leaders focus on:

• Outcomes. Know where you're leading people.

• Other people. This means those doing the work to get us where we want to go. You have to serve rather than be self-serving.

• Finally, we can focus on ourselves.

Confidence is crucial. It inspires others, Eikenberry said. Part of what helps build or reinforce confidence is a correct assessment about what's in your control. He offered three key questions to help:

• Is what you're worrying about a problem? If not, let it go.

• Is what you're worrying about important? If not, let it go.

• Is there anything you can do to change the outcome? If not, let it go. But if there is something, leaders have to take action and responsibility. Inactivity and over-contemplating can erode confidence.

Communication, collaboration

Michelle Tillis Lederman would tell you leadership is all about relationships.

“Everything that we accomplish in life is through relationships,” said Lederman, whose interview with Pizer was titled “How to Communicate and Collaborate with Anyone.”

Lederman is the author of three books including “The 11 Laws of Likability.” In 2015, Forbes named her one of 25 Professional Networking Experts to Watch.

At least for the introverts, Lederman thankfully concedes a couple things:

• In communicating and collaborating, be yourself. (In leadership circles, authentic is a buzzword.)

• You don't have to “get overly personal to build relationships.” People usually don't get along because they are too similar or extremely different. Look for shared values, connections and interests. Learn to appreciate some similarity or common ground.

“It's not all about you. It's not all about them,” Lederman said. “It's about how you have an exchange with someone else … Curiosity is key.”

And it's possible to turn sour relationships around. It starts with assuming “positive intent,” Lederman said. If someone seems “frosty,” give them the benefit of doubt.

Think about what you may not know, a reason individuals might be acting a certain way. Don't just jump to conclusions, she said.

What if you're wrong? Lederman also suggests asking yourself whether you simply want to be right. People often look for evidence to reinforce conclusions they've prematurely drawn.

Communication and collaboration can improve if you show people you care about them and care about what they care about.

“You do those two things,” Lederman said, “and you will become a relationship-driven leader.”

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/