Being a humble + confident business owner
Clients and customers are wary to part with their hard earned cash, and being an equally humble + confident business owner will help ease their mind in knowing they are making a wise investment.
I think it's safe to say that arrogance and business don’t mix. Although this is true to a degree, it’s vital to note that confidence is essential too. No one wants to go into partnership with an organization or a leader who is weak and feeble. So, towing the line between humbleness and confidence is a difficult target to hit.
We’ve all met leaders who can lead and maximize results without being overbearing. They’re the men and women who walk into a room and command attention without speaking a word. In business, this art is known as quiet confidence.
There is a good chance that you’ve never heard of the term “gracious gloat” before. And, if you have, it’s one of those that makes you think “yeah, whatever. There’s no such thing.” Bragging is obvious and we can all spot it when it happens. Or can we? Firstly, this trick can take the form of a subliminal message that speaks volumes to a person or individual. For example, you may mention how you worked for a certain company which has a five-star reputation.
Gracious gloaters understand that the brand itself carries weight, enough to have a positive impact. There is no reason to flesh it out and tell the listener how big the company is and what you did while working at the headquarters. It’s mansplaining, plain and simple. Another tactic is to drop a brag into the conversation yet do it in a way that makes it endearing. All it takes is a sentence or two outlining your experience. “I know how you feel. I’ve worked in this industry for X years and I have seen it all.” By gloating in this fashion, you can connect via griping or venting.
Speak Confidently But With Respect
One reason we can’t stand the arrogant souls who make everything about them is their lack of respect. They walk into a room and don’t care about anyone else but themselves. It’s totally rude and turns people off and rightly so. Remember that while the goal is to make people aware of your talents, there is also a framework to follow. A basic conversation works one way: you speak, I speak.
It’s simple, yet bragging takes away the opportunity for others to have their say and it’s frustrating. So, the key is to follow the rules as per but to speak confidently and with purpose at every opportunity. Lots of entrepreneurs find that emphasizing words and phrases gives them an edge in negotiations and meetings. Enunciating clearly highlights the points that you are trying to get across and helps to stand out from the rest of your speech. In a formal setting, such as an interview, attempt not to use qualifying words. “Think” and “I believe” almost come off as a question rather than a straight declarative.
Dress To Impress
As the saying goes, to look good is to feel good, and whoever coined the phrase isn’t wrong. We’ve all donned a sharp suit or a beautiful dress and looked in the mirror and had a Ron Burgundy moment. “I look good. I mean, I look really good! Hey everyone, come see how good I look.” Now, this may seem as if you're vain and superficial, but entrepreneurs should never underestimate the impact of dressing to impress. To begin with, clients, customers, and whoever else you are in business with will judge you based off of your appearance.
Anyone who doesn’t fit the bill will instantly fall down the pecking order. Wearing nice clothes, then, is a sign that you understand how to be professional and that you never skimp out. Clothes are a reflection of the brand. Secondly, liking what you see staring back at you is an excellent way to boost self-esteem. As soon as you walk out the door, it’s as if the whole world is at your feet. Hopefully, and research backs this up, the confidence enhancer will permeate into other areas of your life, such as work.
But Don’t Be Too Flashy
Remember the part in the last paragraph where we talked about judgment? Well, there is a flip side to being too shabby. It's too flashy, and it has as negative an impact as seeming unprofessional. To drill home a point, humanity is skeptical of those who try too hard and love to play a role rather than be themselves. If the housing crash of 2008 taught us anything, it’s that guys in suits with sharp haircuts aren’t trustworthy.
So, it’s vital that you don’t give off the wrong impression, particularly when meeting an individual or an entity for the first time. Start by sticking with the tried and tested color scheme of apparel. Black and blue, and various variations, are staples throughout the year, while a light number such as grey is acceptable in the summer. Anything that is too loud may turn you into a caricature of the stereotype you’re trying to avoid. Also, swerve accessories that may come across as a power play. Gucci earrings and a matching necklace are pretty, but the clientele may not receive them the way that you intended. Dress powerfully yet be conservative wherever possible.
Leaders often see this as being weak but nothing is further from the truth. First of all, it’s a sign that you are realistic and understand the demands put on bosses. Entrepreneurs have to micromanage a variety of tasks and jobs and it’s impossible to oversee every single one. Outsourcing shows people, inside and outside of the business, that you’re a practical leader with humility. Why on earth would you bother with the customer services side of things when a third-party will deal with the hassle?
Probably the most important facet of delegating power is bridging the knowledge gap. Because there are too many areas to manage, there are bound to be some which aren’t within your vicinity of expertise. Simply put, you don’t have a clue what to do and may do some serious damage in the process. Employment law support for businesses is a sector which is complex and intricate and takes years of experience to master. Outsourcing to an entity that has all the resources to help your company is a no-brainer. It’s an obvious choice because A) it furthers the business and B) it’s a signal. Clients, customers and employees see it and think “this person isn’t power-mad.” The effect this has on output, lead generation and conversions is astounding.
Point Out Weaknesses
Due to the competitive nature of the industry, it never seems like a good idea to tell others about your insecurities. Won’t they use them against you and make life hell? Honestly, there is a chance that this may happen as driven people will use any advantage they can find to get ahead. However, those of you in positions of power shouldn’t worry too much. You’re already high up enough to deal with any coup which may make its way to your front door. A bigger worry is creating an atmosphere of disillusionment.
Bosses have to connect with workers if they want to maximize results, and that means you have to be relatable. Telling subordinates about your weaknesses, then, shows them that you’re not perfect yet strong enough to want to be better. As corny as it sounds, they look to you for advice and guidance and being human is one way to showcase humility and confidence in equal measure.
Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
“Like-minded” in this sense means the type of person that you’re trying to become. The reason this works is simple: humans copy behavior. Children do it as babies, and adults do it when they want to grow and be better. Being around humbly confident men and women, then, is bound to rub off on you in the best possible way. Even if you don’t ask for advice directly, you can watch and observe and figure out alone. Also, part of mastering the art of humble and confident is playing the good guy. That isn’t possible if there isn’t a bad cop to throw under the bus!
Oh, and don’t forget that confidence is about doing it without saying a word. So, are you ready to wow people by being gracious yet secure at the same time?
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