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Friday, June 22, 2018
Confident Over Smart
by Nathan Jamail 

Confident Over Smart

Confidence Creates Success


Recently, I was talking with my bride about our youngest daughter, who is very young for her grade; she missed the cut off by one day to be in the grade below her.  With that being said, she had struggled almost the school year with her reading and writing.  We decided to hold her back next year so that she will be one of the older kids in her grade instead of the youngest.  We felt this will align her learning abilities with her age and maturity level.  This was decided based on our belief that we would prefer our kids to be confident kids over ‘smart' kids.  This does not mean that our kids are not smart or that being smart is not important; it means that we feel a person’s confidence determines their happiness, success and their willingness to fail and learn.  This lesson from our six-year-old applies to us as adults as well.

The power of confidence:

I believe a person’s confidence is the nucleus of their wellbeing.  A confident person is less willing to follow the wrong crowd.  A confident person is more willing to take chances in their lives as well as their careers.  Most importantly, a confident person believes in the most important thing- themselves.

When we feel confident, we are more motivated and happier in general.  When we believe in ourselves, others will believe in us too.  When we are confident, we are at our best.  This isn’t the opposite of avoiding challenges or hard work - this is being confident so that we rush TO challenges and desire to work even harder.

What being a confident leader is:

  1. Being a confident leader is about believing in themselves and also having humility.  It takes great confidence to be willing to learn and take constructive feedback.
  2. Being a confident leader is taking the blame for everything that goes wrong inside and outside of one’s control. 
  3. Being a confident leader is always looking to do the right thing despite the consequences or amount of effort required. 

What being a confident leader is not:

  1. Being a confident leader is not being arrogant.  In fact, arrogance is a sure-fire result of a person being insecure; the exact opposite of confident.  
  2. Being a confident leader is not about going against the grain or being a rebel without a cause. 
  3. Being a confident leader is not about making the popular choice or worrying if your team likes you.

A confident leader is about always doing the right thing versus still being right. 

Great Leaders build their people’s confidence. 

Great leaders understand that a confident employee is a better employee.  But don’t confuse confidence with cocky or arrogant.

The key is how a leader builds their teams confidence: 

  1.  A leader achieves this goal by challenging their employees to do more than they think is possible through empowerment and encouragement. 
  2. A leader demands the best from their employees and recognizes them for their achievement. 
  3. A leader never allows an employee to give up or do less than they are capable of doing. 
  4. A leader encourages their employees to fail and learn to embrace their mistakes, rather than the alternative of being too afraid to try. 

Where leaders go wrong:

So often, leaders have the right intentions but the wrong actions in building their employee’s confidence.

  1. A leader will reward undeserving employees or give false praise in hopes it will give them something to build on.  In reality, all it does is reward “less-than” behaviors and results.
  2. A leader will accept an employee’s excuses for not achieving or doing more and let them get away with doing only what is minimally acceptable.
  3. A leader will defend their employees to the leader’s boss; saying, “My team can’t do any more” or “they are doing their best despite their lackluster results."

All of these situations have good intentions, but the actions limit the team’s confidence and success.   The issue is when the leader sympathizes with their employees rather than empathizes.  Empathy is used when a leader recognizes the issues but does not let the employees give up.  They give a little bit of tough love like when my daughter is screaming, “I can’t do it!” as she floats in the water, holding a ski rope as we get ready to pull her up.   This is when my bride yells, “We don’t say can’t - you can do this and all it starts with is you trying!”  My bride loves my daughter but knows this is not the time to sympathize, rather it is a time to encourage her, so she understands she is big enough, brave enough and confident enough to ski like her big sister.

A leader’s job, similar to parent’s, is to make those they lead become the most confident person they can be so that they can be the best version of themselves.   This includes making tough decisions, which become a little easier when backed by the intention of great expectations and great encouragement.  Despite the difficulty, it is always worth it when results soar and confidence is leading the way.



Nathan Jamail, president of the Jamail Development Group, and author of the bestselling Playbook Series, is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach. As a former Executive Director, life insurance sales professional and business owner of several small businesses, Nathan travels the country helping individuals and organizations achieve maximum success.  Nathan has worked with thousands of leaders in creating a coaching culture. Get your copy of Nathan Jamail’s most recent book released by Penguin Publishers, “The Leadership Playbook” of the Best Selling Playbook series.  Nathan’s has a newest book being released on October 1, 2018, Serve Up & Coach Down.

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