Emotional Intelligence- Self-Confidence and Accurate Self-Assessment

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We have already seen in my last blog how Self-Awareness is the foundation for Emotional Intelligence and that all the other three blocks viz. Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management are built on it.

In continuing with our discussions, we will today see the other two very important aspects of Self-awareness:

Self-Confidence: This is a very important element of Self-Awareness. People with high self-confidence can recognize and acknowledge their feelings and their impact on themselves and others.

Confidence is the one basic necessity if one has to achieve anything worthwhile in professional and personal life. Yet there are many people who feel unsure of their ability to tackle challenges in life. No one is immune to these bouts of insecurity at work, but there are ways on how to deal with it. Let’s understand…

Overcoming self-doubt starts with honestly assessing your Strengths and Weaknesses and getting comfortable enough to take advantage and work on them, respectively.

People with high Self-Confidence possess the following qualities:

  1. Their thoughts, words, and actions are congruent with each other under all circumstances.
  2. They have a very strong Value system and stick to it irrespective of the conditions and temptations that they may come across.
  3. They are willing to stick their necks out for something that is right.
  4. They are not afraid to voice their opinion/points even if it means going against the set beliefs, norms, and practices.
  5. They have full conviction about the direction of their lives.

Self-confident people understand that they have a great deal of control over what happens to them in their lives and have no problems in pursuing it.

How to develop your Self-Confidence?

  1. Prepare: There’s that old saying which is true even today: “Practice makes you perfect”. Building confidence is a process and you have to invest energy and effort in it and work hard in the chosen area or project. E.g. you may have to rehearse your presentation multiple times, which you have to deliver in front of your directors before you are yourself comfortable with it. You may start taking baby steps towards building confidence say e.g. if you want to overcome stage fear or fear of public speaking, you may start addressing a small group of friends you are comfortable with and then gradually increase the size of the audience. You will require to practice hard irrespective of the talents you have to maintain that high confidence. E.g. A player of the class of Sachin Tendulkar still required to practice hours together daily against the fastest bowlers, throw machines and different pitches, so that he can score heavily in Test matches.

The other advantage of practicing is you come to know your mistakes and hence the quality of work keeps on improving apart from the developing confidence.

  • Change your thinking patterns: Confident people are willing to acknowledge the fact that they don’t and can’t know everything. They don’t shy away from asking for help when required.

Many people stall their progress because they think too much about what others will think rather than what they can offer. When you realize your value to others, you may bring a totally new perspective for yourself and your work.

  • Come out of your comfort zone: Playing to your strengths is good as long as you are prepared to take up new challenges. Do all those things you are afraid of doing. E.g. go jump and learn swimming if you fear water, join that driving class if you are afraid of driving, go bungee jumping if you fear height. The key here is to stretch your-self all the time if you have to grow. Asking for help from others can make this job a little easier. Embrace new opportunities to prove you can do difficult things.

Overcoming roadblocks to developing confidence: To get a more confident you, your team, and family the first thing to understand is what comes in the way. If you have the confidence, you are motivated to put in the effort, to invest time and resources, and to persist in reaching the goals. The key to success is not the confidence alone, it’s the investment and effort you put in. Without enough confidence, it is very easy to give up or not to get started at all. To develop the confidence to work towards your goals, you need to overcome the following roadblocks:

  1. Setting goals that are too high/unrealistic: The corporate world is many a time obsessed with BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). However, most times enormous goals undermine confidence. There could be a hugh gap between big goals and today’s reality which can be depressing and demotivating. Small wins occurring regularly can build confidence in a more assured way than going in for a big and the more difficult ones. Each small win will take you closer to the big goal. The key here is to break the whole project/goal/task into intermittent milestones and achieving them one after the other.
  2. Self-defeating assumptions: If you think you can’t do it; you will not be able to do it. This negative thought may be a result of a small reverse one may have suffered. I remember a very close relative of mine, met with a minor accident while learning how to drive a car, he never tried to learn to drive again. These people “leave before they leave”. It’s good to be realistic, but counter resulting to behave like a loser before entering the game.
  3. I can do everything myself: It’s a trap people find themselves in sometimes, as they think they can go it all alone without taking/giving support. They like to do all things their way. If you have to win, you need to work as a team, build your confidence, think about building the confidence in others and create an environment wherein each member is likely to succeed, through mentoring and recognizing individual strengths. It has to be give and take. If you support others, they support you as well. Giving to others is such a good feeling, boosting your self-esteem and making you feel happier.
  4. Playing the blame game: Confidence comes with taking responsibility for one’s own behavior. Keeping on complaining about some past harms that might have been done, reduces confidence for future possibilities. In-corporates, it is found that people jump to take the credit for a success how so ever small, but if there is a collective failure, they are quick to blame each other. Blaming reducing confidence in self and also on others.
  5. Overconfidence:  Confidence is the perfect balance between hopelessness and arrogance/complacency. Overconfidence can be the curse for individuals who feel self-important and take themselves granted for success rather than work for it. When a person is complacent and arrogant, he is disconnected from basics and doesn’t listen to his critics- a trap which he lays for himself.
  • Accurate Self-Assessment

All three aspects of Self-Awareness (Self-Confidence, Accurate Self-Assessment, and Emotional Self-Awareness) are closely related and dependent on each other. First, you must understand your Emotional state and only then you can assess it. Once you can manage and have a complete grasp over your emotions and how they manifest, you can feel more self-assured and in control which will boost your confidence.

This second part of Self-awareness is the ability to accurately weigh how your emotions are affecting your performance, your behavior and in turn your relationships. It’s a very helpful self-evaluating tool especially for leaders, who need to understand how they could be sabotaging the success of the whole team and have a negative effect on their morale if they (leaders) are not aware of the impact of their emotions. Self-Assessment involves honestly finding out and acknowledging your emotional strengths and weaknesses. People who have the capability and the willingness for self-assessment are able to learn from their new experiences and look at their weaknesses as opportunities for self-improvement and development.  

One of the most important ways for Self-Assessment is being open and ask for feedback from the people/colleagues around you whom you trust and respect for their ability to handle their own emotions, behaviors, and relationships. This way you can get all the information for Self-assessment.

Rules for getting feedback:

  1. Listen:  For better understanding, you may ask questions like “Do you mean to say …” or “can you please elaborate on that? or just say humm.. or nodding your head. But giving undivided attention to the person giving feedback and keeping all the other tasks aside is very important. You have to keep an open mind to the perspective of the other person, which you yourself may not be able to see. This is a chance to learn about yourself and not an opportunity to justify your past behavior.

Don’t defend yourself or justify your actions or your behavior in front of the other person giving you the feedback.

  • Don’t hold anything against the person giving you the feedback, even if you don’t like what the other person tells you. You take the advice/ feedback with a pinch of salt if it comes to and be ready to hear the bad with the good. You must respect and appreciate the fact that the other person is comfortable enough to tell you what you may not like to hear. Also, appreciate the time and the interest they are showing towards you. If you have to say sorry to that person, please do so and consider this process as an opportunity to save relationships.

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