I have been spending time this week working with clients to develop individual capability. This has included looking at management competencies, board effectiveness and 1-1 coaching sessions too. I am fortunate to have access to people from different walks of life, and the opportunity to extract and share lessons (whilst paying full heed to confidentiality of course!). A theme that has struck me in all my experiences this week has been that of personal confidence. I have noticed that, often, people are unwilling to talk openly about the things that get in the way of them doing their best work. They may describe how a colleague or member of staff prevents them from being more successful; they may express frustration at the bureaucracy within which they work. Sometimes they blame their home life-the children who exhaust them, or the partner who doesn’t realise how much pressure they are under.Whether I am in board workshops, team building events or 1-1 coaching, I find myself challenging people to look at themselves first.
What is really getting in the way? In the past week I have worked with people who are challenged by their own lack of confidence in different ways, and who are unwilling or unable to address the underlying issues. When they do, there is often a profound shift in performance. Those people who look at their own behaviours before focusing on everyone else’s are more likely to take responsibility for their actions and to embrace change. They are often also identified independently (for example through 360 degree feedback) as particularly effective leaders. This is usually because they are prepared to show a little more of themselves to the world than those who mask their lack of confidence.So, the next time you hear someone blaming the world around them for their problems, or you are tempted to do the same, it might be worth reflecting: