For Managers, Self-Confidence Is Like Cholesterol
There is the good and the bad.
A manager should not be an expert employee who has been promoted. Obviously, their mastery of their team’s activity is essential, but it is not enough. What characterizes the best managers – the leaders – is their ability to give meaning to their team’s work and motivate their employees to give their best. Management is primarily a duty of transmission.
To do this, managers must have a strong self-confidence: It is impossible to guide your teammates to success if you are not convinced that your ideas will mobilize them. But what makes the difference between good and bad managers, in this respect, is the nature of their self-confidence: Is it inclusive or exclusive?
Is it strong enough that managers can move towards others in order to listen to them and motivate them? But is it not so strong that managers are always certain to be right and cannot be empathic leaders? An absence or an excess of self-confidence can be equally detrimental. To protect themselves, some managers compensate for their self-doubt by pretending to omniscience and rejecting any external input.
As historian Daniel Boorstin wrote,
“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.“
At the end of the day, self-confidence, for managers, is like cholesterol: There is the good one, which gives a psychological security to the leader and thereby to their team, and the bad one, which feeds on the manager’s psychological insecurity and destabilizes their team.
A manager’s self-confidence can be a factor of collective trust or distrust.