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Notes from Neen: Have you ever had a professional crisis of confidence as a leader?

By February 19, 2024No Comments
“Not sure I can do this anymore. I think the board has lost confidence? Maybe I am not the right person for this job?”

I could hear the frustrations in her text and pictured red helium metallic balloons that are so pretty when you first get them and then slowly the air comes out of them, they start to droop, and look sad and deflated — I knew she was in the middle of a crisis of confidence.

This hospitality CEO was frustrated with her executive team, surprised by the board’s negative reaction to the innovation strategies she suggested and was feeling less confident in several of her team members. Perhaps this has happened to you?

When you lose confidence in yourself, or your team, it’s easy to doubt your skills and values, question your contribution or even the direction you once confidently set — I get it, I see you.

Confidence is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

I walk into every room and assume everyone wants to play with me, I always have. Maybe it’s because I am little? Fearless? Or Australian? (Yes, what you have heard about Australian critters is true, everything there can kill you. But you don’t play with the snakes and spiders — so everyone needs to calm down!)

I have always believed confidence is contagious and it’s my responsibility to set the energy in the room and help others feel confident — it’s a skill everyone can develop.

I called my CEO client from my early morning walk knowing she was slumped in the airport lounge after yet another flight delay, desperate to head home to her family.

In our quick coaching call we immediately identified a communication strategy that included elevating her presentation skills, develop internal public relations strategies and conduct a talent review to boost confidence in herself, her team, and ultimately the board.

Sometimes that’s my job.

As an executive advisor to many c-suite executives, I am available as an objective sounding board, cheerleader, confidante — and sometimes need to knock sense into them and remind them who they are, how far they have come and how to step back into their most confident self to become what we call a LUXURY leader.

Luxury Leadership is about being the BEST leader.
It is about how people EXPERIENCE YOU.
Luxury leadership is about delivering exceptional experiences to create advocates.
Luxury leadership is about mind share — and ultimately market share.

Leaders set the standard of experience, expectations, environment and emotions. Great luxury leaders lead organizations that are top of mind for their clients and team and have both internal and external advocates. Advocates can be board members, peers, team members and clients.

One of my clients, Four Seasons Hotels, knows that luxury is in the context of the experience they provide. It’s not about excess or frivolity, it is about making the most of their guests’ precious time, helping them share memorable moments with loved ones. With over 50 years in business, they continually strive to perfect the art of service and guest experience. The luxury of the Four Seasons experience lies in their ability to meet individual needs — the same is true for leaders.

As leaders it is vital we understand how people experience us and our leadership style through our communication and daily leadership.

We can all agree, luxury experiences are the ultimate in exceeding expectations and leaders set the standard of everything, so the best way to deliver the experiences that create advocates is to lead at the luxury level.

The key to setting the standard? You guessed it — it’s rooted in your confidence to be able to communicate, activate and elevate your vision.

It’s tough out there.

If you have felt like my CEO client, you are NOT alone.

For the past two quarters both the men and women clients are sharing similar frustrations about decreasing market share, challenges with talent, longer sales cycles, slower decision making — and as someone who manages her own small business, I get it.

Maybe as a leader:

  • Sales numbers are down
  • Business development is more challenging
  • Decisions are taking longer
  • Stakeholders are questioning your decisions
  • You’re secretly feeling less confident this quarter than last

If you have experienced any of that, I see you. AND — it’s all fixable and you are going to need confidence to turn things around!

Our coaching implantation plan is designed to improve confidence through communication and strategies to:

  1. Manage personal energy: personal energy impacts professional energy and how people experience you. Managing emotions and physical presence is vital.
  2. Manage internal perceptions: when creating an internal public relations program, sometimes you have to advocate for yourself and be your own publicist, this is not about showing off, it’s about showing up and reminding yourself and others of the value you bring.
  3. Manage external realities: reminding your stakeholders of current market position, and the environmental and societal impacts of your strategy — not because you are giving excuses, but because you are seeking understanding and often need to educate people.

So guess what happened to my CEO client?

I am so proud to report she realized she had to treat herself as a luxury leader and adopt a luxury mindset, and after talking her off the ledge, and implementing our strategy she:

  • Crushed her board presentation (we practiced and refined it so many times)
  • Shut down the naysayers with a clear contextual model and detailed strategy
  • Received an endorsement for her multi-million dollar investment strategy
  • Set free two of her leadership team
  • Invested in coaching for another leader to strengthen her skills for the executive team
  • Scheduled a vacation with her oldest daughter

And she reported that she is sleeping deeper and isn’t overthinking as much. Sometimes she feels that ugly gremlin of self-doubt creep in sometimes — but hey, we are all a work in progress right!

If I can help you in your leadership journey, send me a note.

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