Decisiveness. And confidence that you’ve weighed up the options and made the right decision. That’s what a man has. No faffing about. No maybes. Just decisions and action.
Here’s a true story for you: A friend of mine once worked for a large multi-national airline and had access to the Executive level guys. The CEO of this company once offered my friend some advice on how to be a successful leader: “Never use the words ‘I think’ in a meeting. If you want to come across as someone with confidence, when you say something, state it as fact. Most of the time, people will just accept it.”
Leaders should inspire confidence. If you’re following your General into battle, you want to be sure they know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about.
If they start saying things like “I think we should do this…..” or “I’m not sure whether we should do A or B…let’s go for A”, guys are going to be like “dude – does this guy even know what he’s doing?”
Nobody knows all the answers all the time. Nobody. The skill here is going with your gut, accepting that as your truth and rolling with the consequences.
A man has self-confidence. Not arrogance. And this is not about bullshitting. Because when you get called out on your bullshit enough times, you quickly lose credibility.
No it’s more subtle than that. This is about communicating with confidence. Taking the default position that you are right in what you’re saying until proven otherwise.
Mr Miyagi – a legend of men – had it right:
“Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later…get squish just like grape. “Either you karate do “yes” or karate do “no.” You karate do “guess so,” (get squished) just like grape.”
There is no “guess so.” Using words like “I guess so” or “I think” make you look like a wet blanket. But we are men and we sleep on a bed of nails. We say things like “yes” and “no” and “I’m sure” and “definitely not”.
Similarly, when we do something, we do it. We’re all in. There are no half-measures and no token attempts. Yoda – another one of our male role models – nails this one:
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
Side note and philosophical wondering: Is Yoda still classed as a male if he’s a) a different species and b) a puppet?
Don’t say ‘I think’ – and don’t apologise
And for those times when someone does call you out and – importantly – can prove you’re wrong, admit you were mistaken and move on. But don’t apologise. We only apologise when we have made massive boo-boos like running over our neighbour’s dog; forgetting our mum’s birthday or coming home after a heavy night of tequila and barfing all over the bathroom.
So with all this in mind, I’m going to leave you with three tips that will definitely make you more decisive. For sure. For real.
- Remove the phrase “I Think…” from your vocabulary. It doesn’t exist for you any more. If you’re more than 60% sure about something, “it is”. Less than 60% sure? “I don’t know.” Don’t be afraid to put your balls on the line here.
- Answer questions definitively “yes” or “no”. Being tentative and using maybes means people don’t know where they stand with you. And you become less trustworthy and dependable. Don’t want to go out with your boys for beers and burgers? Just say so. Nothing worse than saying “maybe” and then flaking at the last minute. Don’t be that guy.
- And following on from point #2 – follow-through on what you say. If you definitely say “yes” to something (good for you, by the way), make sure you effing do it. Similarly, if you take a stand on something – make sure your actions back that stance up. Don’t be the guy who says Disney movies are for pussies and kids and then gets caught coming out of the cinema having just watched Beauty and the Beast.
It’s ok not to know something, it’s ok to ask questions and it’s ok to be wrong. Go with your gut. But GO. Take ownership of yourself
- If you’re going to be a leader, then lead. That means inspiring confidence in those that follow you. It’s your way or the highway
- If you’re not going to lead, then follow. And there will be a time for this – you can’t be a hero every time
- And if you don’t feel strongly enough about something to lead OR follow – then get out of the fight
Perception is reality – so do what you can to be perceived as the confident, self-assured man you know you can be. Don’t think you can, KNOW you can.