• Jennifer Saliba

Confident or Cocky


What’s the difference between confident and cocky? With a company name like The Confidence Project, we get that question all the time.


It can start with body language and tone, those first impressions we get when we see someone and they start talking. If they look closed off and say, in a condescending way, “I’m an expert in leading large global teams,” that’s cocky. Confident includes a pleasant facial expression and tone of voice. “I’m an expert at leading large global teams,” Same words, different impact. Tone, delivery, body language. They all matter. And there’s more.


We asked Mike Tarbell, from “Playbooks Consulting” to weigh in. Mike’s an HR expert with success in coaching many leaders of Fortune 500 companies. He says, “Confidence invites others in, to contribute their ideas and opinions, such as, ‘What are your thoughts? Tell us your perspective.’” Cocky pushes people away. “Eh, I don’t really need your opinion. I know it already.”


Confident is curious and invites conversation, even when it’s contentious or uncomfortable. You can say, “That’s an interesting perspective. I hadn’t thought about it that way. Keep going!” Cocky is self-absorbed and only concerned about protecting territory or ideas. It’s a scarcity mentality.


Confident people are generous and give credit freely. Try, “Thank you for your contribution to the project.” Or, Let’s recognize Kathleen for her creative work.” Cocky craves credit, attention, and the spotlight. Confident is being appropriately vulnerable. We believe that’s the ability to take a deep breath and trust in the outcome with everybody’s contributions.


For the next 30-days, ask yourself, “How do I show up? Cocky or Confident?” This world has a lot of dissension and competing opinions on a variety of topics, so there’s never been a better time to practice skills to build authentic confidence. Confidence Impacts Everything. Our thoughts. Our words. Our actions. Be a part of creating a Confident Company Culture. Engage with us. Bring The Confidence Project to your company.

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