Never Mistake Confidence for Competence

We’ve all seen this at one point in our careers – the person who speaks as if they know everything.

The person with the largest ‘presence’ in a room, the one always seeking airtime at meetings or the ear of senior leaders. The one who loves a debate and wears everyone down. They are very self-assured and can often communicate in such a convincing way that you (and others) believe they must know what they are talking about.

However, just as cockiness does not equate to courage, confidence does not always indicate competence. It’s easy as the manager to get distracted by the loudest voice on the team, but never forget there are others who are fully competent and don’t outwardly pump their message to the masses.  Some employees will tell you just how good they are; others will need to be asked repeatedly.

As a new leader, how you do avoid this scenario?  You can do so in two ways:

1. Understand communication styles
2. Learn the tenants of situational leadership

1. There are many programs that can help you determine communication styles over the course of a 1-2 day workshop. They are worth the investment, as they serve not only as professional development for your team, but also as learning for you as the leader. Two that I’ve experienced personally and have found to be effective are:

Social Styles 

Everything DiSC

2. As a manager, you cannot apply the same leadership approach to all of your people.  You’ll be 50% effective at best. Leadership is situational, and the sooner you learn that the better your results will become.

-Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership II is a solid program that has been around for decades

Note: I do not have an affiliate relationship with any of these companies.

By leveraging time-tested programs such as the ones listed above, you can shorten your learning curve and avoid mistaking confidence for competence.