Yesterday saw the latest in our BizBooks author series, as we hosted Larina Kase, author of The Confident Leader. Larina discussed what it means to be confident; how President Barack Obama embodies the confident leader paradigm; and even how to solve the eternal problem of procrastination.
Check out the whole discussion! Check it out here. And, for now, check out some of our favorite highlights below! (Including, yes, the procrastination question.)
BizBooks: What exactly do you mean by "confident"? And what are the practical virtues of this personality feature?
Larina Kase: I see confidence as our ability to face challenging situations with a sense of optimism and feeling that we can handle them. Confidence also includes how we respond to failures or obstacles. Someone who is confident has a realistic appraisal of the risk in a situation but feels that even if it didn't go the way he would like, he could handle the outcome and perhaps even turn it around in his favor.
Confidence is not so much a personality trait as a mindset that develops over time. The most important practical virtue of confidence is being able to challenge ourselves to confront difficult situations. When we do so, we not only feel great, but we are more likely to experience greater rewards in life and work, and our confidence grows.
BizBooks: One chapter in The Confident Leader deals with a subject near and dear to the hearts of many: procrastination. Could you please briefly tell us what you have to say about that?
Larina Kase: Yes, absolutely. Most of us experience procrastination on some level. The first half of The Confident Leader lays out the 6-step GROWTH formula to use in areas of key change and challenge. The second half applies the formula to different areas that many of us struggle with, such as procrastination.
One of the primary drivers of procrastination is a lack of confidence in a certain area. We worry about how well we'd be able to do something, whether we have what it takes, how long it will take us. These worries may not be obvious to us unless we sit down and say, "What concerns me about doing this now?"
But they float around in our heads and make us put things off. The thoughts are often completely irrational. For example, I recently procrastinated learning how to sync my PDA with my Outlook because I have a fear of technology. When I stopped and said, "What am I worried about?" I realized that there was nothing serious. So, I gave myself 30 minutes and said, "Try it out and see what happens," and of course I was able to do it.
New Paltz, NY: to quote machiavelli: is it better to be feared or loved?
Larina Kase: That's an interesting question...
It is definitely best to be loved. There is a great deal of research that people who are likeable achieve more. They are more influential. People are attracted to them and see them as charismatic. People go out of their way to help them. People who are likeable show empathy, care and concern for others, genuine interest in others, and are willing to share their resources and look for ways to help others out.
The only way to influence others is for them to feel that you care about them. So, definitely love.
On the other hand, a *little* bit of fear is okay. This means that people don't see you as a pushover. People see you as someone who is confident and has power. People see you as someone who has standards for what is okay and what isn't and is not afraid to act on them if there is a transgression. These things make others respect you and not take advantage of you, because they know there will be an unfavorable consequence.
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