Lead with Confidence

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When I coach business leaders, I am often asked to inject some confidence into the person I am coaching. It is not uncommon for a new Executive to have a broad goal of ‘confidence’ as they transition and find their feet.

Of course, confidence is not limited to how you carry yourself in the workplace. Quite often our role guiding the conversation in a family is to give specific family members the space and room to voice their opinions when they otherwise lack the confidence to make their point of view heard. The philosophy that shapes our work with families is that we want to create confident stewards.

So, what does confidence look like and how can you be more confident in the interactions with your family? Here are three important places to start.

Consider how you prepare and carry yourself

  • Be mindful. Take time out before an important family meeting or engagement to create a positive state of mind. It can be hard to rush between our different mental modes – between work and family. What are your triggers to transition yourself from your current focus to the time you are going to spend with your family?
  • Focus your attention on what you can learn from the upcoming interaction and bring that focus with you. If you are genuinely open to learning something new from your family, it dissipates a feeling of being tested or judged.
  • Consider your posture and how you hold yourself.
  • Fake it till you make it. Everyone holds a certain level of imposter syndrome as mother, father, successor or family leader.
  • Be light. Don’t bring a heavy focus on the setbacks you will invariably suffer. Every journey has ups and downs. Focus on the long term gains (an essential mindset within a family).

Harness your strengths and unique experience

  • What is the unique strength or perspective that you bring to your family?
    There are many different roles within a family. You may not be the wealth creator or a financial investor, but you may excel in building governance or guiding the values in the family.
  • Build from your strengths and grow your area of expertise incrementally. Don’t stretch yourself by trying to be across everything at once. For example, you may not be an expert in the family finances but you have the social skills to keep people engaged.
  • Harness momentum. If you’ve experienced a win, use that positive energy to initiate a tough conversation you’ve been putting off.

Be open and lean on your family

  • Ask questions and ask for help. Don’t put pressure on yourself with an expectation that you should know everything.
  • Get other family members on side by asking them to share their expertise. While at times it may not seem this way, your family wants to see you succeed.
  • Look for mentors across your extended family or outside the family with the specific goal of building your confidence in a particular topic or area within the family business or family entities.
  • Be specific on what you want to achieve. Articulating your goals and making your family aware of them makes it more likely you will achieve them. Your family can help you with their time or resources to make your goals a reality. See our article on goal setting for consideration when shaping your goals.

Confident people do these three things instinctively. They know their unique strengths, but rather than trying to prove them, they enter conversations to see what more they can learn. This is the single most important tactic for confidence.