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What Confidence is NOT

confidence Jun 14, 2023

In times of crisis, people need a confident leader. However, what if all this uncertainty has shaken the foundation you were standing on? You may not feel very confident anymore. In fact, you’re wondering if you have what it takes to do this! If this is how you feel today, maybe you’ve got an incomplete idea of confidence.

Your people don’t need you to know everything. They don’t need you to have all the answers. They don’t need you to always know the right way to go.  

Right about now, you are wondering if I know anything about leadership. You look at me and say, “Who will follow that type of leader?” I know it seems backwards. Truth: In times of uncertainty people already know that you don’t know. To pretend you know when you don’t actually erodes confidence.

People need leaders with a genuine, deeply rooted confidence, one that looks different than most. It’s a Christ-like confidence those of us in ministry need to receive through our faith AND then display to those around us. It brings calm to the chaos. It inspires hope while not denying reality. It creates forward momentum even when the path is unclear.

What Confidence is NOT...

This kind of confidence is powerful. As we talked about last week in three keys to unlock confidence in crisis, looking at the foundation of our confidence through a spiritual lens changes our perspective. Let’s look at three things that biblical confidence is NOT versus what it IS:

  1. Confidence is NOT certainty >> it IS vulnerability. Take a moment and let this sink in. Consider how this is a hard lesson to learn. None of us know what we are doing right now. We can’t know. Instead, invite input while committing to carry out your responsibilities in the realms of decisions and actions. Whatever you decide will likely be an experiment. Some will work. Some won’t. When it doesn’t work, admit the mistake and let people know it’s okay to experiment. Show how you learn from your mistakes. You are demonstrating the power of failing forward. If, on the other hand, your experiment works, then pause and celebrate it. Recognize everyone who contributed to the success.
  2. Confidence is NOT hiding fear >> it IS facing fear. People are afraid. Minimizing that fear will not make it go away. Instead, empathize with their fears. Validate them. When they know you “get it”, then you can offer hope. You can’t promise that which they fear will not happen. But, you can articulate who God is and demonstrate who you will be as you walk through the fears together. 
  3. Confidence is NOT blindly driving forward >> it IS the best next step. Things are changing fast. You still need strong values and big goals that guide decisions. But, crisis demands you shift what you do or the way you do it. Discerning the next step is a daily activity. Confidence might look like, “I am not sure what the right step is here >> but let’s look for the opportunity, step into it and see what happens.” After the first step, decide the next step and just keep going as you navigate the minefield of crisis. Put one foot in front of the other.

Choosing confidence in a crisis is not always easy, but when characterized by authenticity, courage and the next best step you instill confidence in your team. People move from paralysis to willingness to experiment with new activities that can open doors to new ways to express your mission.

Leadership Reflections

  1. Go back and read the Unlocking Confidence in Crisis blog. What is the source of your confidence? How might it need to change? Meditate on that.
  2. Write out what leadership confidence is to you in just a few words!
  3. Notice how you are doing that today.
  4. What do you want to start doing more? Go and do it! 

Please consider sharing your thoughts on what “confidence is NOT” in the comments section. 

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