The Right Hand

By Ari Zelmanow

Confidence vs. Competence in Leadership



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The Right Hand
This is the first issue of Likely Event. It is a micro-essay on the costs of poor leadership.
The costs of poor leadership are high. Be a competent and confident leader.

I dreaded going to work.
I would arrive in the parking garage, sit in my car with a ninja death grip on the steering wheel for ten minutes every day, mustering up the strength to go inside.
When I finally mustered the strength to go inside, I took the elevator to my floor, walked toward my desk, and looked down the hall to see if she was there.
My daily happiness hinged on one thing; her presence in the office:
  • If she was present, my heart sank and I knew the day was going to suck.
  • If she wasn’t present, there was still hope the day wouldn’t suck.
I eventually left that company—and the shitty boss—ne’er to return.
The fact is, her behavior cost that company way more than simply losing me.
The costs of poor leadership are high.
High turnover, challenges in recruiting, reduced productivity, and low employee engagement all cost companies millions of dollars.
And all of these are impacted by the quality of leaders within the organization.
What is the difference between confidence and competence in leadership?
Confidence measures how good a leader thinks they are.
Competence measures how good they actually are.
Competent leaders cause high levels of trust, engagement, and productivity. You can become a competent leader by being self-aware, willing to listen to adapt to feedback, and serve the people on your teams.
Incompetent leaders result in anxious, alienated workers who practice counterproductive work behaviors and spread toxicity throughout the team and company.
The sweet spot for leaders is those who are confident AND competent.
Remember this,
People don’t leave companies, they leave leaders.
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Ari Zelmanow
Ari Zelmanow @zelmanow

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