Show uncertainty – with confidence

Leadership comes with many learning opportunities, some happen ‘by accident’, while others are top of mind and part of a thought out development plan. 

For me, one of the (many) areas I want to focus on strengthening is presenting ideas I’m uncertain about, and doing so with confidence.

I was reading articles from HBR advising that leaders should openly express their uncertainty. Research would suggest sharing doubts can help to establish trust and avoid overly risky decisions. It sounded quite logical to me as humility is a key element in building relationships… and persuading others.

But how can one express uncertainty while appearing confident? I discussed this with my colleague and he shared with me a very handy tip…

The essence of it is to put your idea on the table, not yourself. In other words, your thoughts become object, not subject and so any potential critic becomes part of the idea (object) not yourself (subject).

One way to do this is by introducing your thoughts with a statement like: “I’d like to test an idea with you…” or “I have an idea I’m not sure about and I’d like your thoughts on…”

Simple, right? I’ve put this tip to practice a couple of times and I have to say, it works very well. Next time you want to share an idea, why not play with it and give it a try?!

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