When things are not going well, you can: (1) show it, or (2) not show it. There is play pretend needed as an adult, just as you did as a child. When you were a kid, you acted out your dreams. You dressed and spoke like a cowboy, an actress, or a fireman. Similarly, as a leader, you need to act out being a leader.
Talk yourself into it. Remind yourself. Say, “I’m going into this, and there’s how I have to behave.”
A company video conference showed one manager who sloppily slouched throughout. A short time after the conference, he was demoted a pay grade and ultimately let go because people couldn’t forget and get past the mental picture of him. He should have acted more interested.
People believe what you show them, not tell them. You need to “look” like what people have come to expect in a leader. It’s not in the clothes you wear (that’s only a small part of it) or an accoutrement of power around you, but it’s your bearing, manner, and comportment that cause people to have confidence in you and your decisions.
The theatrics required (after you’ve talked yourself into it)?
-keep an open expression on your face (e.g. a slight smile) whether you are mad, sad, scared, tired, or happy
CEOs are not thrilled every morning when they come to work. Sometimes, they’ve had a fight with the wife or the kid didn’t come home the night before, but they can’t be grumpy. One CEO told me, “The day I gave the best speech of my life, according to my staff, was the day after my life had started to fall apart, having been told I might have to file for bankruptcy. Regardless of how I felt, I couldn’t show it.”
Everyone is insecure in some area. The difference in their effectiveness is in their acting ability to camouflage it.
We’re all scared some of the time, but you have to hide it. It’s the price you pay to play the game.