Are you Confident or Cocky?

by Ron Potter

Jeff Haden wrote the original article in Inc. magazine and covered more steps than I’ve focused on here.

I’ve been referred to as a “cocky SOB”, so maybe I fall on the cocky side of this equation.  However, I’ve also been referred to as incredibility confident.  I think the two are intertwined so let’s take a look at how you can be confident without being cocky.

Signs You Are Genuinely Confident

You listen 10 times more than you speak

I don’t know about the 10-1 volume but I’ve written several blogs on

  • Listening with the Intent to Understand
  • Listening with the Intent to Respond.

I don’t think it’s the volume of listening that you’re doing. I think it’s how you listen.  You can listen a lot to a person but if it’s always with the “intent to respond”, the other person doesn’t really feel like you’re listening.  It’s hard to stay in the “intent to understand” mode because our natural tendency is to get our point across.  But when you stay in this mode, it really signals to the other person that you truly want to know what and why they think the way they do.  It also gives them credibility.  This is listening with confidence.

You duck the spotlight so it shines on others.

Not taking credit when it’s due to others shows great confidence.   There is nothing cocky about this approach.  Many people get threatened when they are not in the spotlight.  They worry that if others gain more of the spotlight it will threaten them and their position.  Confidence becomes obvious to others and is appreciated by the boss, teammates, and direct reports.

You freely ask for help

The help may need to come from anyone in the 360 circles around you.  People who want to feel that they know everything about every subject will be quickly exposed (outwardly or inwardly) as needing help but being afraid to ask.  Admitting that you may know a lot and have lots of experiences but you just don’t know everything makes you come across as very human.  This is trustworthy.

You don’t put down other people.

Putting others down reflects more on you than it diminishes the value of the person you’re putting down.

You own your mistakes.

We’ve talked in several previous blogs about looking for someone to blame when things go wrong.  This is cocky, not confident.

Confident leaders will be remembered and appreciated by everyone around them for a long time.  While the actions of cocky leaders will be remembered for a long time, their names will soon be forgotten.

Be a confident leader!

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