Often, when dealing with an overly confident team member or leader, our first reaction is to want to take the individual down a peg or two. Over confidence (or what may be viewed as arrogant, superior, entitled, trying too hard) is actually a feeling of inferior. The team member is compensating for what they feel as a lack.
So, taking them down—as I am sure you have found out—doesn’t work. We’re actually feeding the inferior feeling that caused the arrogance to manifest in the first place. On other hand, if we buy their brazenness and entrust this team member with more than what they are capable of taking on, we are setting them up for failure; and more feelings of doubt, overwhelm and anxiety. More arrogance.
Rather than working to humble or change the individual, you want to go in the exact opposite direction. You have the opportunity to invite them into being okay with who they are, exactly as they are. This—no longer trying to be more than we are—is the meaning of true success. You transmit this sense of okayness by acknowledging the true qualities of the person. Let him or her feel seen for who they are, not just how they perform. Remember: positive focus feedback on the attributes of the individual; corrective feedback on the behavior. For example, “I truly admire how you always look for creative ways to find a solution”, rather than “well done on solving the issue”.
You have your insecurities, no doubt. Authentic confidence has no need to adjust any of that. We evolve from “I would be great when this or that about me is different” (in other words when I feel good) to “I am completely okay the way I am, insecurities and all.” I’ve found that positions of leadership have a particular way of surfacing feelings of inadequacy. We are in real trouble if we try to set ourselves up as superior in order to soothe our self-doubt. The old saying applies: “A leaders hire A people, but B leaders hire C people”. By surrounding yourself with those who are less capable in order to make yourself look better, you’re setting the entire team (and ultimately yourself) up for failure.
As you relax with your own insecurity, just as it is, you will instead fuel the confidence of those around you. Lift them up…even when a part of you wants to take them down!
Learning the right tools to use these emotions for growth is the ultimate game changer in determining the success of you and your team. For more information on how to engage insecurity and false confidence I highly recommend viewing our Support Tool video and PDF. If you want to get even more hands-on, the Numina app provides a number of exercises and solutions you can begin implementing today.