"> The Thin Line Between Confidence and Humility by Janis Moore - Janis Moore

The Thin Line Between Confidence and Humility by Janis Moore

As human beings, we are attracted to confident leaders and managers. Melanie Kolouris famously said, “Be humble in your confidence, yet courageous in your character.” Applying this concept is a challenge for most leaders within an organization. There are so many leaders who are currently confident but severely arrogant. There is a thin line that divides confidence and arrogance. It is called humility! However, isn’t it interesting how confidence is seen as a strength, but humility is seen as a weakness? Self-assurance, self-worth, and competency exist as three key components of someone who embodies a healthy assurance of themselves. Those who exude an air of conceitedness are more concerned with “me rather than we.” Today we will focus on finding yourself on the “confidence spectrum,” how to become more confident yet humble, and how to still fearlessly be ourselves.

To analyze your confidence, let’s examine a few factors. Consider your gender. “Women tend to err toward humility while men tend to err toward overconfidence. Men rate their performance 30 percent better than it is!” says one Columbia Business school study. Also, confidence ranges greatly depending on where you are located throughout the world. Western cultures focus more on self-esteem while Eastern cultures value self-improvement. When interacting with others, do you work your accomplishments into the conversation? Do you hesitate during key moments or launch into them full throttle? Do you find yourself negotiating often, or do you tend to settle what is thrown at you? These answers will better depict where you fall on this scale.

When people find themselves lacking confidence, they will find that they cannot fully be courageous in their character. Attempt to do the following to boost confidence:


  • Let go of your failures. Dwelling on the past is very different from learning from it. Break the broken record of negativity constantly playing in your head!


  • Stop being afraid of taking risks. Negotiate more. Step out of your comfort zone. Harness the courage to act on your own ideas. Taking action and taking smart, calculated risks can cultivate more belief within someone.


  • Be aware of appearances. Do you slouch? Fold your arms and fade into obscurity? Is your handshake firm or loose? Do you dress like you want to be in charge? All of these come together to create the aura that is YOU.



If you fell on the other side of the spectrum of feeling over-confident, do the following:


  • Learn the art of the “Humble Brag,” and speak of yourself in a tactful manner. Self-promotion doesn’t necessarily have to be braggadocious. It is completely possible to be a well-known authority within your industry. Just be sure that you aren’t someone who is all talk and no action!


  • Talk less and listen more. How many times has your mother told you that you have one mouth and two ears for a reason? Over-confident people tend to be motormouths, proudly pronouncing their cockiness to the world. Do not let ego get in the way! Eckert Tolle says, “I have also met many others who may be technically good at what they do but whose ego constantly sabotages their work. Only part of their attention is on the work they perform; the other part is on themselves. Their ego demands personal recognition and wastes energy in resentment if it doesn’t get enough— and it’s never enough!”


  • Say “I don’t know.” There will always be times when you don’t know every answer. No one does. And if they tell you they do, they are lying! This is where humility kicks in. The Harvard Business Review explains that “When leaders humbly admit that they don’t have all the answers, they create space for others to step forward and offer solutions. They also engender a sense of interdependence. Followers understand that the best bet is to rely on each other to work through complex, ill-defined problems.”


In conclusion, take these pointers and lead boldly within your business. Having a balance between confidence and humility provides an individual the courage to be fearless, to be present, and to be themselves. I challenge that for you today!



About the Author:


Janis Moore has over 20 years of experience in the Non-profit and Corporate industries. She currently provides business coaching services as a certified Growth Coach within the Greater Santa Ana community in California. If you would like to contact her about any of her services, please call 883-772-6224.



Haudan, Jim. “The Powerful Combination of Confidence and Humility.” Inc.com, September 27, 2016. https://www.inc.com/jim-haudan/the-powerful-combination-of-confidence-and-humility.html. 3/15/2018


Seiter, Courtney. “The Humility-Confidence SeeSaw: The Untold Secret of Great Leaders.” Buffer, October 29, 2015. https://open.buffer.com/confidence-humility/. 3/19/2018

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