Taming Your Inner Doubts

Written by Christopher Lewis. Posted in Blog

The Easiest Ways of Restructuring Self Confidence to be a Top Manager

Being shy as a managerThe different roles we play in life emanate from the same personality that has been slowly structured over years of socialization.

Some of us turn out to be ‘reticent’, ‘not too social’ or what is better and more simply termed as ‘shy’.

Shyness is that personality trait which does not allow the individual to speak up, socialize or make their presence felt in whichever way. Most forms of shyness come from the presence of too dominant an authority in the environment where the person grew up or a complete lack of a leader from whom to emulate.

Thus shyness is a personality trait that seems to be in complete contradiction to someone who has to be in charge - in this case-a manager.

Are We Not Too Self-Critical?

So, is all lost if you happen to find even an ordinary conversation with co-workers seem like your final battle, or when it comes to attending meetings, the very thought of sharing your idea in front of everyone makes your palms sweaty?

Does the very idea of confronting someone in a contrarian manner give you nightmares?

An affirmative to these questions will only prove to you what shyness is but it should not obviate an assumption that in any manner limits your ability or skill as a manager.

Social skills and development of self-confidence are as much an articulation of an inherent genetic predisposition of someone’s personality as is any other skill acquisition - thus the immediate environment plays a decisive role in making a shy introvert show impressive changes towards becoming more and more effectively in-charge.

Getting the Larger Picture

However, another viewpoint is equally important to understand - is it absolutely necessary to work so hard to turn into an extrovert who jokes easily with his employees, is invited to all office socials, makes random speeches without a figment of nervousness-are all of these more important than critical management abilities?

Well the fact is that each day a shy person who wants to any manager, shy or otherwise will have to come out of his or her comfort zone - and this applies as much as to an extrovert.

Management requires setting goals, leading teams, and working out projects with all on board and thus within these parameters there is adequate space for all personality traits – in fact an extrovert is not what a manager needs to be – rather qualities such as – being a good listener, having high empathy, a problem solver and coming up with brilliant new techniques to get to the target is what counts.

Running yourself down just because you find it difficult to speak out, is clearly out of sync with the job requirement.

Here are some usable and practical tips to guide you through some of those situations that seem more challenging to you than to the others.

Getting to know your team

Be the good listener that you already are and get to know your team one individual at a time than holding cursory meetings with them which requires you to speak a whole lot of them at one go.

This way one not only gets certain amount of personalized attention but also helps reduce the stress of an under the microscope ice breaker.

Preparing for large group interactions

Meetings, brainstorming sessions, probably interviews to choose new team members would need you to speak your mind - prepare adequately for such interaction - and if you are smart you will not only know the questions that will come up but also the likely cues to the answers.

Draw a map of ideas and actions in your mind - rehearse the plan of answers -what fits where-you are smart which is why you deserve to be a manager - so why not manage the interaction as well?

Get Mentored

A manager can also be mentored. While you may be seen as a person at the helm of your team, at the same time you could learn some basic interpersonal skills that may not come naturally to you, from any superior who knows that your success will directly impact his own.

Take tips on how to deal with unruly employees and bring it to the notice of the higher authorities making it clear that you mean to take action - this way you mentally empower yourself before confrontation. This can do one more thing - it takes the load off your back to get things done singlehandedly but at the same time you also get the respect of those workers who are sticklers for hard work and you will automatically gain more respect.

Always get back to your mentor to know if you could have had the tough conversations in a better manner - this is vital for the next round.

Shyness Must Never be replaced with Arrogance

While trying hard to create your team – your more benign attitude should not be mistaken as your submission to the will of either the team members or the superiors.

Your silence very often is interpreted as coldness or simple arrogance and pride - make these options unavailable to them by commenting however little about their idea - ask a question – seek a clarification - or just add another small point. If not in large group get back to the person who made a point at the meeting and place your opinion to him or her in private. Slowly the message will go through that you listened and you cared.

Two simple tricks for meetings

Look at the agenda points and be one of the first ones to speak on it - this done you would have taken on the role of initiator and can then rest a little before piping in an extension to someone’s point or by asking simple questions - even asking relevant questions is a sign of participation and proves you are seeking a more synthesized problem solving idea.

One Point Fearlessly

In the middle of all the endless questions and cross questions always make it a point to say something without censoring yourself - when you do this there is possibility that those already warmed up will question you - but there will always be someone who agrees and may speak up for you as well.

Each time you blurt out something you will feel more power to be less inhibited the next time.

Shyness is not the problem, but letting it become a hurdle that decides if you are good manager is. To put too much of emphasis on being less shy and not taking cognizance of your other abilities perhaps is a bigger problem.

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