Communication is one of our greatest challenges. Not that we aren’t talking a lot, but is our spoken message consistent with our behavior? If there is dissonance in what we say and what we do, others judge us on our walk, not our talk. Our current political candidates could learn a lesson from this, but to do so would require that they stop much of their rhetoric, and that is unlikely to happen. And this is true of the candidates of both parties. November can’t come too soon.
But it is too easy to focus on others, and fail to look at ourselves. So, let’s change that, and look within.
Do you ever think when you begin your day, “What message am I going to deliver to those with whom I come in contact with today?” You probably don’t even think about delivering a message, unless you happen to be making a speech. But we are delivering messages all day long, whether we do so verbally, or non verbally. There are three messages I encourage us to always deliver, regardless of our circumstances or schedule. The three messages are confidence, competence, and commitment. The order of how those are listed is intentional.
Confidence is exhibited by our appearance, our language, and our overall behavior. Think of someone who displays confidence. And please, do not confuse confidence with arrogance, for they are polar opposites. The person who is confident has an air of being comfortable in her or his own skin, not needing to shout to be heard. You can tell if one feels confident by whether or not she has good posture, makes good eye contact with others, and engages with others easily and comfortably. The person who is confident has no need to take up all of the air space, he can listen as well as talk. He is also good at drawing out the opinion of others, and does not put down the thoughts or opinions of others. He can laugh at himself, allowing others to see his vulnerabilities, while not using those as excuses for poor performance.
Competence is usually related to our technical or professional skills. To be competent requires that while we may not be an expert in all areas of our specialty, we have a core set of skills, and that we are committed to staying current in our field. And if your field of work is the home and family, that requires competence as well. People who are competent get their work done on time, or if they can’t, such is communicated to those whom such work affects. While competence does relate to technical and professional arenas, there is human competence as well. People who don’t play well in the sandbox with others lack human competence, and that has derailed more people than the lack of technical or professional skills. While on the area of human competence, it is important to note that how one manages conflict is a competence issue. The issue of managing conflict is so important that it deserves a blog post of its own.
Commitment is threefold; commitment to oneself, commitment to others, (including God or your higher power) and commitment to our jobs. And do not mistake commitment with workaholism. One can be committed to a job and career without sacrificing personal sanity or family, for if these are out of balance, the stool of self, others and job is missing a couple of legs. People who are committed have a higher calling than the paycheck, and look for ways to improve their workplace and the team. People who are committed have the best interests of the company and its staff in full focus, and do not compromise either for self gain. People of commitment follow through, they do what they say they will do, and what they need to do.
If you know a person of confidence, competence, and commitment, this analysis is a refresher for you, you “get it.” And hopefully, you are looking within, and deciding that you possess confidence, competence, and commitment. If you are looking within, and find that you lack one of these important behaviors, then commit to do all that you can to change that. And start with confidence, for that is the behavior that you will need to assure that competence and commitment are present. It doesn’t usually happen any other way.
Now, back to behavior. Does your behavior represent confidence, competence, and commitment? If not, what are you going to do to change that? And by when? And how?