Building Leadership Through Confidence

Create more leaders in your fitness center by finding and empowering natural leaders and building their confidence.

THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT to successful leadership is having confidence in other people. In her book Confidence, Rosabeth Kanter describes leadership as being about motivating people to their best efforts, and channeling those efforts in a productive direction. To best do this, you must believe that you can count on your people to come through. When you believe in your employees, their confidence will grow. Successful organizations are less dependent on the top commander-in-chief, because leaders have multiplied throughout the organization.
Create more leaders in your fitness center by finding and empowering natural leaders and building their confidence, regardless of titles or levels. You may find, then, that more projects are launched, more innovations get supported and more work gets done. Multiply the leaders in your company by reinforcing confidence through ensuring accountability, cultivating collaboration and encouraging initiative.
Confidence requires accurate assessment of the situation, and courage to accept responsibility for dealing with it, even when it means owning up to mistakes. As a leader, increase accountability by fostering straight talk, clearly communicating expectations and making information accessible.
Create humiliation-free zones where candid discussions can take place. This enables discussion of strengths and weaknesses without fear of embarrassment. Communicate expectations clearly and set people up to succeed. Leaders make visions a part of daily tasks. Constantly repeat standards and clearly articulate goals and priorities to everyone. Not only should you hold your employees accountable, but also hold yourself accountable for getting people in the right position to meet expectations.
Ensure that performance data is accessible so employees can guide their own performance. This can be done in the form of meetings, voicemail messages of daily operational performance, computer tracking programs, reports or logs.
Confidence thrives when people feel connected, not isolated. Mutual confidence comes from firsthand knowledge of each other, and bonding from working together on important tasks. To foster collaboration, structure conversations, reinforce respect and define joint goals.
Structure collaborative conversations across positions and departments. Form teams within teams to accomplish strategically important tasks. Facilitating collaboration builds critical connections that produce organizational chemistry.
Reinforce respect and inclusion. Publicize individual and team achievements to reinforce pride in each other. Invest in lifting everyone's level of play, not just the stars, so a wedge is not driven between people or groups. Stress dignity in everyone's work and listen to every voice. Show everyone respect.
Define joint goals and collective definitions of success. While people's roles are different, they can share the basic set of responsibilities and rewards as members of the same organization.
Encouraging respect for the talents and potential of other people in the organization leads to a culture of pride.
In conjunction with instilling accountability and collaboration, enhance confidence by empowering people to take action, solve problems, voice their ideas and create innovations. Encourage initiative by developing tools and rewards, and giving permission to take initiative. Specifically, treat people as experts, and encourage grassroots innovations.
Open channels for new ideas. Welcome proposals from any position. Seek, fund, praise and support these proposals. Believe in people's power to make a difference. Cut out organizational roadblocks that slow action or stifle innovation.
Treat people as experts in their own work. Give responsibility to employees, and allow them to give input into decisions related to what they do. Let the personal trainers hire the personal trainers. View people as resources.
Encourage small wins and grassroots innovations. Encourage people to work on projects that they value and that involve factors they can control. People work hardest on projects that matter to them and make a difference to their own success.
Initiative can give you the winning edge. Winning streaks in an organization are associated with many leaders, not just one. Increase the number and quality of leaders in your company by building confidence.
Kanter, R.M. Confidence. Crown Business: New York, N.Y., 2004.
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