By Karin Fields
I was born into a family of strong women on both my mother’s and father’s side. My grandmothers were born in the early 1900s at a time when women and children were to be seen but not heard. Fortunately, both of my grandmothers missed that memo and grew up to be avid readers, strong communicators and fiscally knowledgeable. Their children, my parents, grew up in households where parents shared childcare, household duties and money management. I strongly believe that how my parents were raised directly affected how they raised me and gave me the one quality that set me apart from the girls I grew up with: confidence.
Confidence was the inner strength to raise my hand in school to answer the teacher’s question. It was also the inner strength to raise my hand to ask questions when I didn’t understand something or needed help. Self-confidence inspired me to try new things, stand up in front of a group and, most importantly, make decisions.
As long as I can remember I would be with a group of friends where no one could or wanted to make a decision. Because I had confidence in my opinions, I would make a decision and everyone would follow along. I wasn’t striving to be the leader, but I inevitably became the unofficial leader because I wasn’t afraid to give suggestions and commit to a plan. If I made a mistake, I would learn from it and move on to the next thing – not beat myself up about it for days or weeks. As a child and young adult, I experienced no real consequences to making a bad decision because I knew my parents would be there to support me. That was critical in giving me confidence to make decisions.
Being the informal leader of my friends as a child and having supportive parents enabled me to take risks and run for more formal leadership roles in organizations and clubs. Sometimes I won and sometimes I lost. But even when losing, I grew from those experiences and people still saw me as a leader because I had the confidence to put myself out there and try.
The energy of confidence can be very positive and motivating. People are drawn to it because it often gives them comfort, especially in times of crisis. When the muck hits the fan and things have be done, the leader is the person everyone looks to for solutions, guidance and a road map. They look to someone who is not afraid to make decisions. That person must have the confidence, whether real or projected, to make people feel they’ve got everything under control.
Remember, it’s not what you say or do but how you make people feel. A good leader has the confidence to make decisions that give comfort to the people around them.
About the Author
Karin Fields, an award-winning, 20-year veteran of the telecom and cloud industries, is CEO/COO of MicroCorp, a leading master agent and distributor of commercial data, voice, UC and data center services. Fields also is Chair of The Alliance Partners, two-time recipient of CRN Women of the Channel, a founding member of Alliance of Channel Women and a recipient of ACW’s 2017 LEAD Award.