The Click: Connecting Confidence to Competence

Original publication on Nov 3, 2014 in the New York Women in Communications Aloud Blog
by: Nancy Gendimenico

In Grace Killelea’s recent NYC talk at Women in Cable TV’s Leadership Lounge, the CEO and Founder of Half the Sky Leadership Institute focused on four pillars as the cornerstones of leadership: Relationships, Reputation, Results and Resilience.

Grace uses a personal anecdote to illustrate her coaching advice: At one point in her career, she weighed 380 pounds. Her suggestion: learn to work with what you have in terms of physical appearance, “decorate it”, as appropriate to the business or social occasion. Pack in your power, no matter what your size by standing up straight, shoulders back, and head up.

Use your voice to speak from the diaphragm rather than the throat to avoid a high pitched tone. Learn how to present and take every opportunity to speak in front of a group. Public speaking is a critical skill for successful professionals.

Relationships Personal networks give you confidence. Think of your network as a way to gather information, build alliances, and learn about opportunities. It is your source of power. As you make your way through your career and life, many relationships will become interwoven. While you don’t have to like everyone in your network, selecting who goes into your network and how you manage your relationships will impact your career.

Resilience According to an Executive Presence Survey, “gravitas” counted for 67% of an executive’s presence. By contrast, communication counted for 28% and appearance only 5%. Resilience is about grit, moving forward despite the fear. What is your piece of grit?

Reputation How is your brand viewed? Learn what people say when you leave the room.

Results Use data to back up your performance. Numbers don’t lie. As Muhammad Ali said, “It’s not bragging if you back it up.”

To assess how you click:

• Audit your skill set.
• Determine who needs to know what you are doing up and down the organization.
• What data supports you?
• Be prepared to ask questions in meetings-get up front and identify yourself.
• Network and build alliances. Ask people in your network to spread the word about you.
• Be several questions deep in the subject you are discussing
• Pay attention to what is appropriate for the occasion-in appearance and behavior.
• Listen and observe.
• Share credit.

Authenticity matters. Gauge accordingly. “Put yourself on a dimmer switch.”

Check in and get feedback from others. Keep adjusting.

And, in cracking the confidence code:

• Suit up, show up, speak up, stop apologizing, and give compliments.
• Start where you are. Whatever you have is enough to lift from to find success.