Model 6:
Confidence Quotient

2 December 2019
What determines how much confidence people have in me?

Key Definitions

Confidence is the psychological state of feeling sure about something or someone. When people are confident they feel certain and at ease, allowing them to move more freely and commit themselves to actions or relationships with less reservations.

People can be self-confident and have confidence in others or the situation. In all cases, confidence is a sentiment based on people’s perceptions. Their confidence will depend on their judgment of something or someone, making it highly subjective and influenceable.

Conceptual Model

The Confidence Quotient gives an overview of the key elements determining the level of confidence that people have in someone else. The model indicates that a number of factors (above the division line) reinforce each other in strengthening a person’s confidence in the other – they more than add up (+), they actually multiply each other (x). At the same time, a number of factors below the division line significantly reduce a person’s confidence in the other – together they more than subtract (-) from confidence, they slash it (/). Although pictured as a mathematical formula, the model is intended to indicate the relationship between variables, not calculate an actual number.

Key Elements

In the model there are six key factors that contribute to the level of confidence that someone will have in other people, for example in you:

  1. Credibility. When it seems convincing that someone has the capacity to deliver, they are deemed credible. They are highly likely to carry out activities successfully. For you to be viewed as credible, you need to be seen to have two qualities:
    1. Capability. Others need to believe that you have the skills and resources required to make it happen. They need to see you as someone who is competent in a particular area and has access to the key people and inputs required to get things done.
    2. Reliability. Others also need to feel assured that you will step up at the required moment to actually make things happen. They need to judge you as someone who can be counted on to come through in a predictable and dependable way.
  2. Trustworthiness. When it seems that someone can be depended on to do the right thing, they are deemed trustworthy. They are highly likely to behave with integrity and be mindful of others’ interests. For you to be seen as trustworthy, people will look to two aspects:
    1. Intentions. Others need to believe that you are truthful about your objectives and that these are not at odds with their goals. They need to see you as someone without a hidden agenda, who’s aims coincide with theirs.
    2. Fairness. Others also need to feel assured that you will be guided by a sense of reasonableness and fairmindedness. They need to judge you as someone who is morally principled, who can be counted on to act in a just and evenhanded way.
  3. Risk. Besides these aspects that contribute to confidence, people will also consider their exposure to something bad happening. The more they feel vulnerable to possible danger or loss, the less confidence they will have. Your risk profile will depend on two factors:
    1. Chance. Others need to believe that it is unlikely that your behavior will negatively influence them. They need to judge the odds that your actions will lead to unwanted consequences as relatively low.
    2. Impact. Others also need to believe that if a negative occurrence does take place, the consequences will not be significant. They need to sense that the possible unfavorable impact of your actions will be relatively low.

Key Insights

  • Credibility and trustworthiness are different. Trust is often ill-defined. Many people call everything that contributes to confidence trust. But it is useful to distinguish between confidence based on perceived ability (are you credibe to do things right) and perceived integrity (can you be trusted to do the right thing).
  • Confidence is based on forecast behavior. People’s current confidence in you depends on how they estimate you will behave in future. That is why they look beyond your capabilities to you future reliability, and beyond your intentions to your future fairness.
  • Confidence is based on perceptions. People’s confidence in you is all a matter of subjective evaluation. They will view you through their own biased filter, but also strongly weigh past behavior. So, your track record matters – confidence needs to be built.
  • Confidence is undermined by perceived risk. The higher the chance of things going wrong and the bigger the potential impact, the less confident people will be. So, even people who are not risk-averse need to be put at ease, by reducing (the perception of) risk.
  • You can influence others’ confidence in you. You can improve yourself, becoming more capable, reliable, well-intended and fair, while reducing the chance and impact of negative actions. But you also need to actively influence perceptions and your reputation/brand.
Subscribe to our monthly Management Model

Do you want to be notified of our monthly Management Model? Please fill in your email address here.

Publication Schedule

June 2024
Time Management Funnel

May 2024
Digitalization Staircase

April 2024
Leadership Circle Map

March 2024
MOVING Mission Framework

February 2024
BOLD Vision Framework

January 2024
Duty of Care Feedback Model

December 2023
Best Practice Sharing Modes

November 2023
Stakeholder Stance Map

October 2023
Status Snakes & Ladders

September 2023
Customer-Centricity Circle

August 2023
Activity System Dial

July 2023
New Pyramid Principle

June 2023  
Cultural Fabric Model

May 2023       
Corporate Strategy Framework

April 2023  
Ambition Radar Screen

March 2023
Resistance to Change Typology

February 2023   
5I Innovation Pipeline

January 2023     
Thinking Directions Framework

December 2022      
Corporate Management Styles

November 2022     
Strategic Action Model 

October 2022
Psychological Safety Compass

September 2022
The Tree of Power    

August 2022
Value Proposition Dial

July 2022
Sustainable You Model

June 2022
Change Manager’s Toolbox

May 2022
Corporate Value Creation Model

April 2022
Organizational System Map

March 2022
Creativity X-Factor

February 2022
Strategic Alignment Model

January 2022
Market System Map

December 2021
Team Building Cycle

November 2021
Disciplined Dialogue Model

Oktober 2021
Strategy Hourglass

September 2021
Powerhouse Framework

August 2021
Fruits & Nuts Matrix

July 2021
Everest Model of Change

June 2021
Followership Cycle

May 2021
Knowledge Sharing Bridges

April 2021
Innovation Box

March 2021
Empowerment Cycle

February 2021
Digital Distribution Model Dial

January 2021
Digital Product Model Dial

December 2020
4C Leadership Levers

November 2020
Rebound Model of Resilience

October 2020
Strategic Bets Framework

September 2020
Storytelling Scripts

August 2020
7I Roles of the Corporate Center

July 2020
Strategy Development Cycle

June 2020
Rising Star Framework

May 2020
The Control Panel

April 2020
Strategic Agility Model

March 2020
Leadership Fairness Framework

February 2020
11C Synergy Model

January 2020
Competition Tornado

December 2019
Confidence Quotient

November 2019
House of Engagement

October 2019
Revenue Model Framework

September 2019
Interaction Pressure Gauge

August 2019
Digital Platform Map

July 2019
Mind the Gap Model


Double-click to edit button text. crossarrow-leftcross-circle