Tag Archives: Leadership

5 Traits of Confident Leaders in Uncertain Times

5 Traits of Confident Leaders in Uncertain Times

Trump is in the White House, the iPhone 8 isn’t far away, and now we hear robots are planning to take our jobs. Uncertain times indeed.

These days change is inevitable and guaranteed. So how do we take back some semblance of control over our lives and our careers?

The key to it, I think, is confidence.

While confidence is often defined by a self-assurance in one’s own abilities, uncertain times often work to diminish a leader’s confidence in their organisation, in their employees, and in themselves. So how does one keep their confidence when faced with uncertainty?

5 Traits of Confident Leaders in Uncertain Times

1. Confident leaders perceive failure as the beginning, not the end.

Paralysed by fear of uncertainty, many leaders find themselves in endless cycles of the decision making process. These leaders tend to view failure as the end – the end of their success, the end of the company, or perhaps even the end of their career. Confident leaders tend to view failure as a learning opportunity, a part of the discovery process. They do not take unnecessary risks, but rather rely on sound decision making processes to take calculated risks that will springboard them into their next success.

Don't forget to subscribe to our monthly eMag - WorkLife

Expert insights and tips on how to build resilient and mentally healthy workplace cultures delivered straight to your inbox each month.

2. Confident leaders rely on the expertise of others.

We all know of one manager who confused confidence with expertise, eschewing the advice of those that surrounded them. Chances are, their leadership tenure met an untimely demise. Truly confident leaders treat their role in organisations the way a conductor of an orchestra treats his musicians. Understanding that they are not a professional musician in every instrument in an orchestra, conductors provide strategic direction based on the knowledge of how the instruments work together to create the best overall sound. Likewise, confident leaders know they are not experts on every tool, mechanism, process, or skill, but provide strategic direction on how each expert can work together for the overall outcome.

3. Confident leaders own their mistakes.

In a day and age where many people try to take ownership for success while sidestep the blame for their mistakes, confident leaders take responsibility for both. Rather than relying on blame for self-preservation, these leaders instead take responsibility when they are wrong, learn from their mistakes, and move on to greater success. Miraculously, this singular characteristic also inspires subordinates to do the same, creating a culture where fear of failure no longer limits productivity and innovation.

4. Confident leaders communicate purpose.

It is easy to get caught up in the chaos of uncertain times. However, those who lead with confidence also understand and effectively communicate their organisation’s purpose. Part of a healthy psychological reward system, the concept of altruism – behaving for the betterment of others – has been shown to increase job satisfaction and increase workplace cooperation. Confident leaders understand, sometimes intuitively, how their employees’ efforts contribute to the strategic vision of the company at large. Taking this knowledge a step further, they are able to clearly and effectively communicate how the company’s overarching vision translates into action plans at a departmental level. Once their people buy into the purpose, altruism takes over, improving productivity and overall job satisfaction throughout the department.

5. Confident leaders are honest and consistent.

It is tempting to sidestep direct questions about the future of an organisation. Yet truly confident leaders understand that honesty breeds trust and a sense of safety at work. Knowing your boss will give you an honest, direct answer to your question without dancing around the issues gives employees confidence in their leaders. However, honesty must be matched with consistency. If a leader is honest with one group, but betrays that honesty with another, the perception of favouritism arises and employees are left with feelings of uncertainty about their status with their boss. Truly confident leaders are not only honest, but are honest in every situation, every time.

Many people equate confidence with arrogance. While arrogance is wrapped up in ego tied with a ribbon of insecurity, true confidence understands and embraces is fallibility. It sees mistakes as inevitable and failures as learning experiences. It acknowledges the expertise of others and revels in consistent honesty. Perhaps most importantly, confidence does not waver in uncertainty. Those who are truly confident leaders see the chaos of competitive economic times as a way to energise a lagging team and rally them to a common purpose. Uncertainty truly separates the average leaders from the great ones who seem to effortlessly turn uncertainty into opportunity.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

How-do-I-lead

How do I lead authentically in a competitive culture?

How do I leadMost Leaders I’ve met, and I’ve met thousands of them, love the idea of being an authentic, ‘real’, leader. What about you? I love it but, and there’s a big ‘but’ here, I have to say that it’s not easy in the current competitive market. Despite the rise of informal, matrixed organisations, the majority of companies are still relatively traditional and have a hierarchical structure. And in these types of companies, it’s not uncommon to have a dog-eat-dog culture where everyone’s in competition with everyone… and one mistake can sideline you.

If you’re in a leadership position in an organisation like this, you’ve probably learned to adopt a certain management style to get things done. Maybe you relentlessly pursue your objectives, regardless of employee burnouts. Maybe you run a tight ship and exercise a lot of control over your employees’ work to ensure you hit your numbers. Or perhaps you play along with company politics—because if you don’t, you and your people will be disadvantaged.


Read more on workplace leadership and wellbeing…


However, if you’re new to the company or if your conscience prompts you to question certain actions, there might be a moment when you realise that this autocratic, even ruthless management style doesn’t sit well with you. In the long run, it could even become destructive to your workplace mental health. Eventually, you could find yourself asking whether you can develop an authentic leadership style—one that aligns with your inner values—without risking a loss of respect and power and eventually becoming a casualty of the culture.

Fortunately, it’s entirely possible, and realistic, to develop an authentic leadership style, regardless of what your company culture is. An authentic leadership style doesn’t automatically mean that you have to become “soft” and wishy-washy. What it does mean is that you develop a leadership style in which your character and values are the most important factors.

It’s critical, however, to keep in mind that those can’t be the only factors that determine your behavior and actions. You need to balance them against your experience, knowledge, and the best interests of your company. For example, even if it’s in your nature to be open, you can’t always be transparent in the workplace. There are times when it’s best to keep certain information under wraps because it could have a demoralising impact on your employees. Or if you’re naturally cautious, there are going to be times when it’s not in your company’s best interest to hold off and instead, you’ll have to be decisive and take action.

It’s important to understand that becoming a more authentic leader isn’t going to happen overnight. It will take a lot of introspection, plus, you’ll have to become accustomed to using your own values as a touchstone instead of simply falling into old management habits. However, with time and practice, you can develop a leadership style that reflects who you are and what you believe in without sacrificing effectiveness.

Yet all things considered, it’s not in your control how your work environment will receive your change in management style. However, if you have to choose between being constantly stressed because your values conflict with your management style or having to find a new position where you can further develop your authentic leadership style, in the long run, the second option is probably better for your mental health and your overall wellness.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

Waves-in-the-Brain

How Will You Lead Differently in the New Year

Brain wavesThere’s no one right style of leadership. Each manager needs to make decisions based on the people who make up her team and what works best for them. However, it’s also true that there is always room for improvement. And that’ll be time well spent since good leadership is strongly associated with improved results overall. The good news, it’s not that hard. By taking some time for some self-reflection and study, you can become a better leader in the new year.

Reflect on What Went Well

Figure out what your leadership wins were in last year so that you can build on them in the new year. This starts by writing down your own impressions of where you think you were successful. Think in terms of what you did that got you to a goal instead of just what was accomplished. Hint: you are looking for your own ‘pattern of success’ here.

You should also talk to employees and your manager to see what they think about the year we’ve just finished. What did they feel was especially effective? What did they find surprising or innovative?

… And on What Didn’t

None of us hit it out of the park every time. That’s ok. We are not supposed to. But we are supposed to take the opportunity to learn from what didn’t work. After writing down your wins, take some notes about what you felt did not go well. Were there times you fell short of goals? Times that you felt that you did not make yourself clearly understood to team members? Times you dropped the ball and didn’t delegate as well as you should?


Read more on workplace leadership….


When asking others for their impressions on where there was room for improvement, it can sometimes be better to allow people to be anonymous. Consider sending around a survey or putting out a box where people can drop notes about what they think could have gone better and their suggestions for the new year. One word of caution: make sure that you yourself get into a powerful state before you review feedback. Some of it will not be pleasant. Don’t make it personal even when it feels personal. Remember, you are a leader and the aim is to take what you can out of it and learn how to lead better, not to go into a pity party. If you need to vent, go and vent with someone you respect and can guide you with wisdom, such as your executive coach.

When you are looking at how you did, you should also look at metrics that spell out hits and misses in numbers. Were there more sick days in your department this year than in others? Did you have a higher average than other departments in the company? Were your rates of turnover higher than normal or about average for your company and your industry?

Look Outside for Inspiration

If there were situations that you did not feel you handled as well as possible or areas where you feel your team has untapped potential, look for ways to change or improve your leadership to bring out everyone’s best in the coming year.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is find an example of what we want to be. Modelling your style on the style of someone who you find successful can be an excellent place to start. By looking to others, you can adopt some of what gets them their great results. Who’s the leader you admire or like the most? What is it about them you like?

A leadership coach or a mentor can help provide actionable advice about how to take your current leadership strategies and tweak them to be more effective. These individuals will have the outside perspective you need to see what you are doing well and how you can improve.

Challenging yourself in the workplace is another way to make yourself a better leader, as well. When the people who work with you see you stretching, they often feel more confident about your abilities. You will also likely learn new skills that translate well into better leadership.

Communicate with Your Team

To be effective, change can’t be unilateral. If you want to change procedures in your workplace so that you are more effective, be sure to talk about this with your team. Get them meaningfully engaged. Explain where you feel you all are at the present time, what new results you want to see and what you see as the ways to get there. Make sure you ask them for their ideas and suggestions of what they feel will help you, as a team, get there. Remember – sudden changes can make people feel unsettled or even worried about their jobs. This sort of open communication makes people feel more at ease. It also helps them understand your expectations better so that they are more able to shape their efforts to fit your needs.

Better leadership is, in many ways, the result of deliberate and thoughtful choices. By making decisions based on what you want instead of being in a place where you are purely reactive, you are better able to coax and work together with your team in the direction that will be more successful for you all. Be patient as you try putting new strategies into place. It can take some trial and error to get the results you want. Over time, however, it will lead to better results from your team and a happier, more productive workplace.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn

What-kind-of-father-is-worse

What kind of father is worse?

What kind of father is worse?I grew up with a father who loved me but was incapable of saying it. I knew he loved me because he’d discipline me very harshly and tell me it was for my own good, but in 50 years he was never able to say it. Even when I said it at the end of every phone call. Now, this is not strange. I know many people have grown up in this kind of environment. And many people have it many times worse than I had it. At least, I’m certain I was loved.

But, I’m wondering, what’s worse? a physically present but emotionally unavailable parent or a physically absent parent? I am reminded of this today simply because a client-friend of ours just forwarded me a link to a Canadian article saying that Presenteeism – when people are physically present but ‘not there’ – is costing Canada up to 3 times more than Absenteeism – when people are not there at all. This is because their performance is impaired, the quality of work declines, they make errors and fall behind. I believe that, at last count, the same is true for Australia. It’s an important topic for workplaces when we are talking costs of billions of dollars per year, don’t you think?


Read more on mental health and wellbeing….


And then, there’s another aspect to this. Managers. What kind of a manager are you? are you a manager that suffers from management presenteeism? What I mean is, are you physically there for your staff but are you emotionally unreachable? I’ve met many managers that have been taught to be like that. They’ve been told to have ‘professional detachment’. What does that even mean? and how effective is that in a business world where your success depends on your ability to form relationships? And, more importantly, what do you think the impact of having professional detachment is on your team?

For all of you who grew up with emotionally unavailable parents, don’t repeat the same mistake. Be available and contribute meaningfully to each other.

Food for thought, right?

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
Peter Diaz on Google Plus Peter Diaz on Face Book Peter Diaz on LinkedIn Twitter-logo

Are you Staying Strong Through Coronavirus?
Find Out More
close-image