Lesson 062: Leadership air of confidence
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 7/8 ('Attached')


Capt. Picard & Dr. Crusher are being held captive by an alien race that implants telepathic devices on both of them, enabling each to hear the other's thoughts.

While trying to escape, Capt. Picard & Crusher come upon an area which has two possible paths to take. Crusher is unsure which path to follow. Capt. Picard points in one direction and assertively indicates that it is the correct path.

As they start down the path, Crusher hears Capt. Picard's thoughts and realizes that Capt. Picard had no better idea than her as to which path they should be taking and that he was only guessing earlier when he chose which path to take.

When Crusher tells Capt. Picard about her telepathic observation of him and asks if he does that often when giving orders, Capt. Picard answers, that there are times when it is necessary for the Captain to give the appearance of confidence.


Let's take that one step further. Leaders must ALWAYS give the appearance of confidence.

We look to our leaders for direction, hope and inspiration. If we believe that our leadership is lacking decisiveness in the choices they make, then we lose our trust in them and do not believe that they can guide us properly.

We are willing to accept that our leaders are only human and that they at times may make the wrong decisions; however, we still expect them to make the decisions and live by their eventual consequences.

What is not acceptable is for a leader to show uncertainty and be wavering in making decisions. By vacillating too much, or hesitating in pronouncing directives, the leader proves to be undependable and not worthy of following.

Managers, when confronted with risk mitigation situations, must quickly digest and discern the available information to arrive at an actionable solution. To delay or to not make any decision would be to only exacerbate the situation.

Sometimes, in the face of the sounds of battle, the regiment would much rather receive the order to charge towards the gunfire, than to wait around for officers to deliberate and allow the battle to come to them.

Once all the factors involved in a situation have been understood and all possible alternatives have been considered, the resulting selection of possible options to follow is actually not the final step in the process. Only when the actual actionable directive or directives are given is the decision process considered to be concluded.

The leader must make the choices, right or wrong, and present them with certainty at all times if others are expected to follow. This holds true whether you are the head of a family, a corporation, a nation, and especially, if you are the captain of a starship.

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