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Monday, July 1, 2013

Guest Post: Cat Got Your Confidence?

Today I am pleased to present a guest post by Tony Ferraro of Creative Safety Supply (one of our sponsors). Tony talks about confidence in the workplace and how you can help build confidence. This topic is critical in a continuous improvement culture.
Many people just assume that confidence is a black and white topic, either you have confidence or you don’t. However, most people fail to realize that confidence is usually in the grey area, and is not simply one way or the other. A person who is confident doing one thing may feel like a complete fool attempting to do another. For instance, I may be confident and comfortable lacing up a pair of skates and playing a little street hockey; however, I am nothing but a clumsy nincompoop when it comes to baking in the kitchen. The fact is that everyone has things that they excel at easily and other things that take a little more time and dedication to truly master or experience success with. This concept plays out similarly in the business world.
Confidence in the Workplace          
We’ve all seen it before, the boss who struts up and down the business walkways exacerbating his or her position and levels of confidence. This practice is often similar to that of a peacock showing off his feathers in order to let everyone else know how beautiful he is. However, many times when extreme levels of “control” or “arrogance” are displayed it is not truly confidence, but instead insecurity. Insecurity is often fairly easy to point out when you know the right signs and behaviors to look for. For instance, bosses who are insecure may insult others versus inspire them, seem stressed or way too busy to provide assistance, make unjustly excuses, and just simply reject others thoughts or ideas in fear of seeming inferior themselves. Arrogance is simply a cape of inauthentic confidence.
Tips to Help Build Confidence
It is time for a change. Many workplaces are moving towards the concept of lean. Going lean is all about eliminating waste and improving customer satisfaction and value. Well, if you are going to truly strive for a lean work environment, one of the first wastes that ought to go is arrogance which should be replaced with confidence. One important trait behind many successful businesses is confident leaders. You don’t have to be born confident, however, you can practice some tips to help build confidence. For example, instead of strutting around like an untouchable piece of artwork too important to be tampered with, a truly confident person is approachable and ready and willing to offer assistance when needed. Furthermore, another important component of building confidence is to accept your own strengths and weaknesses. Just as described earlier we are all good at different things. So if you aren’t the best at brainstorming ideas to help with the new configurations on an industrial production line, listen to the thoughts of others, support their ideas, and work together to create a successful plan. Don’t confuse the letters in who and how, it is not really about “who” came up with the best idea, it is more about “how” the idea is implemented and “how” it can be successful. Lastly, be kind and smile. My grandmother always used to say that her smile was her best accessory. A smile makes you approachable and tells others that you care and do feel emotions just as they do.
Confidence is achievable and attainable, but first you must be comfortable with yourself. There are many “fakes” out in world of business and it is often quite easy for customers to see right through them. Accept yourself and all your peaks and pitfalls and understand that nobody is truly perfect, there are only those who pretend to be.

About AuthorAntonio Ferraro - On behalf of Creative Safety Supply based in Portland, OR (www.creativesafetysupply.com). I strive to provide helpful information to create safer and more efficient industrial work environments. My knowledge base focuses primarily on practices such as 5S, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and the Lean mindset. I believe in being proactive and that for positive change to happen, we must be willing to be transparent and actively seek out areas in need of improvement. An organized, safe, and well-planned work space leads to increased productivity, quality products and happier employees.

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