Doubt, contrary to popular opinion is useful. Leaders with doubts are wiser than those with none. Doubt asks, “What could go wrong?” Self-doubt says, “I could be wrong.”
Only fools have no doubts.
Don’t feel bad if you have doubts. Confidence without doubt destroys leaders and organizations.
Confidence without doubt:
- Closes ears.
- Minimizes obstacles
- Ignores problems.
- Sets unrealistic goals.
- Knows without investigation.
- Refuses to reconsider.
- Sacrifices people for achievement.
- Takes offense at being challenged.
- Rejects options.
- Doesn’t have a track record.
Bonus: Confidence without doubt, like a two year old, wants its own way.
Confidence without doubt is:
- The result of dreaming without work.
Over-confidence believes declaring goals is the same as achieving goals.
- Listens. Leaders, who aren’t sure, search for certainty by inviting input.
- Prepares. Doubt, combined with drive to achieve, opens minds and motivates work. Doubters know noble goals aren’t magically attained. Fear that things could go wrong drives leaders to prepare for the worst while reaching for the best.
- Develops relationships. Healthy doubt welcomes, connects, and depends on competent teammates.
The tension between doubt and confidence
is solved by clinging to both at the same time.
Doubt and confidence:
- Finds solutions by saying, “I don’t know but let’s find out.”
- Believes doing the work, not dreaming, delivers results.
- Remains flexible and open to criticism or suggestion while focused on making things better. Listen and constantly ask, “What’s next?”
- Adapts and learns as it goes. Confidence, on its own, won’t adapt.
- Gets busy.
Bring your doubts to the party. Don’t bury them. Successful leaders invite doubt and confidence to dance.
How can leaders deal with their doubts?