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We trust those with whom we connect.
We connect with those whom we can “just be ourselves.”
We connect with those who show vulnerability and with whom we can do the same.
So why can this so challenging in the business world?
In our world, and especially in sales, we’re taught to show confidence. This gives the recipient the sense that we are good at what we do and offers reassurance. Yet, we’re all put off by someone whom we perceive as cocky and insincere. So, what is the fine line between confidence and arrogance?
To some that might sound like instant surrender. As a business owner or senior leader, we’re expected to lead, to exude confidence, and definitely not to show weakness. So where does humility factor in?
Humility is an inside job
When was the last time you went to a doctor, sat down on the edge of the exam table, and she walked in and immediately knew what was wrong with you, without listening to your symptoms or performing routine checks? If she did an instant “doorway diagnosis,” you would be seeking alternative care. Professionals know that information and analysis of that information is crucial to a job done right. Why can’t we adopt the same approach as business leaders?
Do I know everything? No.
And, everyone else knows that too. Therefore, we need to stop setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves. There’s no way each of us will know every particle of information in the universe. Let’s start accepting that we have limitations. This mindset starts from the inside. And, it’s not a weakness. It’s reality. And here’s why it’s effective…

Your team knows you don’t know everything. And, in many cases they are more than willing to step up with knowledge, skill, and ideas to supplement any lack on our part. They also want the business to succeed. So, where does the confidence come in?

Your team also needs you to lead, to be “the papa bear” per se. After all the discourse and volleying of ideas, someone has to make the final decision, right or wrong. And that’s what we’re fearful of isn’t it? Making the wrong decision? Face it, it’s going to happen. You as a team leader or business owner will, from time to time, make the wrong decision. Remember when you were learning to drive? Perhaps a concerned parent told you, “it’s not if you’ll have an accident, it’s when you’ll have an accident.”
So when you bomb, what do you do? Your job is to lead, right?
This is when you communicate that yes, you are aware that decision, although made with the best of intentions, didn’t fare so well. So what can we do from here?
“I have an idea, but I’m welcoming suggestions…”
Humility raises respect
Your team’s estimation of you will soar! No one likes feeling like an underling of a pompous so-and-so. But, a leader who’s willing to admit his mistakes? Listen to suggestions? This not only drives their level of respect for you, but also helps them to feel included in business decisions. This leads to development opportunities for the members of your team, and improves the level of engagement that your employees feel. These are all great things for the future of your business.
Remember, you are good at what you do! You wouldn’t be where you are if you weren’t. We’re often reminded “remember where you came from.” In other words, never forget the humility you had when you first started. It actually got you where you are today and will propel you forward.
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