Being positive and feeling good about one’s self as a team leader is the key, you must feel the part. Positivity is a leading factor in one’s self confidence, it will help you keep a feeling of worth. Staying positive will provide you a great asset in regards to self talk and recognizing and working with your strengths. Everyone has weaknesses and by being positive you can recognize your weaknesses and then work on them.
A team leader who has a strong sense of personal worth makes a confident, positive appearance. Looking the part is important as it influences the team members. It will provide a boost to confidence and in turn a boost to your performance as team leader. Once higher performance is obtained it will then cycle back and make you more confident. Looking the part is an important part of being more assertive and confident as it is relatively quick and easy to do and pays off great dividends.
Feeling and looking the part would not be complete without voice. Given that we know that 38% of communication effectiveness is governed by voice quality, improving your overall voice message delivery to your team is worthwhile.
Identifying Your Worth
Worth is defined as “sufficiently good, important, or interesting to justify a specified action.” Team leaders with a sense of self worth exude confidence in themselves. They feel in change of their own destiny, and are happy. To create a picture of your self-worth, take a self-concept inventory, analyzing multiple attributes in your life.
Creating Positive Self-Talk
Positive self talk allows you to recognize, validate, and apply your full potential with respect to all that you are, and do as a team leader. Also called affirmations (to make something firm), positive self-talk serves as your own personal accomplishment scale. Below are some tips for positive self-talk:
- Use the present tense; deal with what exists today.
- Be positive – rather than affirming what you don’t want.
- Remain personal; self-talk must relate to you and you only.
- Keep sentences short and simple.
- Go with your gut. If it “clicks”, then just say it. Self-talk should feel positive, expanding, freeing, and supporting.
- Focus on new things, rather than changing what is.
- Act “as if”; give yourself permission to believe the idea is true right now.
If self-talk is new to you, it is a good idea to first think about the things that are wonderful about you, such as:
- I have someone I love, and we enjoy spending time together
- I am a mother or father, fulfilled in this role
- My career is challenging and fulfilling.
- When I learn something new, I feel proud.
- I am worthwhile because I breathe and feel; I am aware.
- When I feel pain, I love, I try to survive. I am a good person.
Identifying and Addressing Strengths and Weaknesses
After you have listed words and phrases for self-attributes, they can be classified as strengths or weaknesses. This exercise also allows participants to re-frame weaknesses into messages that don’t feed a negative self-worth.
The Importance of Appearance
In the dictionary, appearance is defined as an external show, or outward aspect. Your confidence depends significantly on your personal thoughts and perceptions about the way you look. Appearance is as important today as it ever was. The first thing noticed when meeting someone new is their appearance. That is why it is important as you only have one first impression.
The Role of Body Language
Body language is a form of non-verbal communication involving the use of stylized gestures, postures, and physiologic signs which act as cues to other people. Humans unconsciously send and receive non-verbal signals through body language all the time.
One study at UCLA found that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Another study indicated that the impact of a performance was determined 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by non-verbal communication. Your body language must match the words used. If a conflict arises between your words and your body language, your body language governs. The components of body language include:
Eye contact: The impact of your message is affected by the amount of eye contact you maintain with the team member with whom you are speaking. One who makes eye contact is normally perceived as more favorable and confident.
Posture: Find comfortable sitting and standing postures that work for you; avoid any rigid or slouching positions.
Excessive or unrelated head, facial, hand and body Movement: Too much movement can divert attention from the verbal message. Your facial expressions should match the type of statement you are making; smile when saying “I like you”, and frowning when saying “I am annoyed with you”. Occasional gestures that reinforce your verbal message are acceptable.
First Impressions Count
It takes as few as seven seconds – and no more than thirty seconds — for the team to form a first impression about you. Like it or not, people make judgments about others right away based on a presenting appearance. And you never have a second chance to make a first impression. Below are some tips to help you make that positive first impression when someone.
- Body language. Remember that body language makes up to 55% of a communication.
- Dress and grooming. It’s less about your budget, and more about clean, pressed, and event-appropriate clothing with neat grooming.
- Handshake. Use a medium to firm handshake grip, avoiding a weak handshake, or overly firm one that can cause potential discomfort to another.
- Body Movement. Use a mirror, or enlist the help of a friend to make sure that your movements are not overly active –and that they support the nature of your message.
It’s How You Say It
We are all born with a particular tone of voice, which we can learn to improve. The goal is to sound upbeat, warm, under control, and clear. Here are some tips to help you begin the process.
- Breathe from your diaphragm
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated; avoid caffeine because of its diuretic effects
- Posture affects breathing, and also tone of voice, so be sure to stand up straight
- To warm up the tone of your voice, smile
- If you have a voice that is particularly high or low, exercise it’s by practicing speaking on a sliding scale. You can also sing to expand the range of your voice.
- Record your voice and listen to the playback
- Deeper voices are more credible than higher pitched voices. Try speaking in a slightly lower octave. It will take some practice, but with a payoff, just as radio personalities have learned
- Enlist a colleague or family member to get feedback about the tone of your voice.
Since 38% of the messages received by a listener are governed by the tone and quality of your voice, its pitch, volume and control all make a difference in how confident you sound when you communicate to your team. Below are some specific tips.
Pitch (Pitch means how high or low your voice is.) Tip: Avoid a high-pitched sound. Speak from your stomach, the location of your diaphragm.
Volume (The loudness of your voice must be governed by your diaphragm.) Tip: Speak through your diaphragm, not your throat
Quality (The color, warmth, and meaning given to your voice contribute to quality.) Tip: Add emotion to your voice. Smile as much as possible when you are speaking.
The need for assertive, confident communication can occur at any time, in virtually any place. So how do you make this all come together? Here are some practice suggestions.
- Start simply and gain some experience in safe environments, such as at the grocery store, or with family or friends
- Set aside time when you can read out loud without being disturbed; listen to yourself
- Challenge yourself to speak with someone new every day
- Set a realistic time frame to make the shift; don’t expect to change your speaking style overnight.
Often, anxiety inhibits your ability to act and sound confident when speaking. Knowing how to perform a quick relaxation exercise can help diffuse anxiety and allow you to speak more confidently.