We experience a lack of congruence when our actions and decisions do not reflect our values, thoughts and feelings – Kate Boorer
We’ve been unpacking the relationship between confidence and congruence. Congruence is another word that we rarely use – yet, it is something that is very important to those of us choosing to live our lives honestly and with integrity. In this article we delve into the nature of congruence, its connection with confidence, the signals indicating its absence, the shadow of congruence, how the Acts of Confidence program provides tools for congruence discernment and congruence as a leadership quality.
When we lack congruence (or are out of alignment) it is impossible to be our authentic selves, and others sense that inner disharmony or at times inner conflict. That inner incongruence can look like procrastination, confusion, blaming, judgement and conflict on the outside.
Being congruent is essential to having grounded confidence (which we call Core Confidence) and our ability to speak our truth, even if it feels risky.
What is congruence and why does it matter?
Congruence refers to the alignment of our values, thoughts and feelings with our actions, and decisions. It is fundamental to how we operate in the world; it relates to our ethics, our ability to be authentic and to speak our truth.
In a workplace setting, congruence fosters open communication, trust, and consistency, creating a constructive and productive environment. It allows us to lead with integrity and authenticity, inspiring others through our actions and decisions.
On a personal level, congruence allows for a deeper understanding and acceptance of ourselves. This leads to a stronger self-confidence and the courage to live according to our values, even when faced with challenges or pressure to conform.
Additionally the cost to those around you is often underestimated – your teammates and work colleagues may get a sense that something is not sitting well, that perhaps you haven’t spoken the truth or seem confused or erratic.
“We know from research that human beings strive for congruence between their beliefs and their actions and experience dissonance when these are misaligned”
We are encouraged at work and in relationships to speak up, to say what is on our minds, to call others out when they’re behaving in a way that is counter to the organisation’s culture. Because it is a felt experience and we often don’t have the emotional literacy to describe what is going on, it can be difficult to catch the signs that we are in a place of incongruence, until it becomes really obvious…
What are the signals you’re not being congruent?
Tuning into your emotions is a quick way to gauge your internal congruence. When you are feeling resentful, frustrated with yourself or others, feeling stuck or as though you aren’t progressing, it’s worth unpacking what is going on beneath the surface.
All of these can be signs that you’re not being honest with yourself. When we sense or feel something is not right or that we are unable to speak our truth, there will be a lack of congruence. This can lead to distress, sleeplessness, anxiety, fear and pain.
The opportunity is to gently, with self compassion explore where there may be a lack of congruence, and what you’d like to do about that.
In Chapter 6 of Core Confidence, we share the importance of better understanding the power of your four intelligences. The more consciousness you have regarding what’s going on with you emotionally, physically and spiritually is as important and valuable as your mental intelligence.
When we sense or feel something is not right or that we are unable to speak our truth, there will be a lack of congruence.
The shadow of congruence – misaligned responsibility
While we know how important congruence is, in some instances the desire to do things correctly, to follow the rules and to ensure that others are aware of the pitfalls of certain dynamics can lead to an overextension of our perceived responsibility.
Our passion and care for a cause can push us to assume roles outside of our remit, potentially leading to frustration when we foresee impending problems that others don’t. It’s essential to recognise where and how we can influence situations and discern when we need to let go.
Clarity and confidence is essential in discerning your actual responsibilities. It’s crucial to understand your role, delineate your areas of responsibility, and identify what may need to be relinquished. The more you are connected to your Core Confidence the easier it is to act congruently, because you understand what belongs to you, which battles to fight and where to step back.
Ultimately we can only truly be congruent with ourselves, attempting to bring congruence into some systems and structures where the state of play is not open to your viewpoint is demoralising and exhausting. Expanding your self-awareness is a powerful tool in ensuring you have the wisdom to act in a way that is congruent to you.
How does congruence relate to confidence?
Operating from a place of congruence bolsters our confidence and supports us in backing ourselves, even in challenging situations. When we operate from a place of congruence and feel in alignment we are naturally confident, are willing to back ourselves even when it feels challenging and are more willing to have courageous conversations because we want to honour our integrity.
Conversely, when you experience incongruence (that inner conflict, confusion or procrastination) it’s often a flag that you’re out of alignment. That inner discord undermines your confidence, and often leads to agreeing to do something you don’t want to do, or not presenting a counter argument because you’re worried you’ll be judged.
Our methodology throughout the Acts of Confidence (AOC) program is to equip women with resources to navigate the internal challenges that are often holding them back. The clarity that comes from being able to Articulate and Share your Value (Act of Confidence #2) means that you know who you are, the value you bring and you’re willing to share it; the congruence that comes from this place of authentic power feels completely aligned.
By being clear about your boundaries and knowing how to say No with confidence (Act of Confidence #6 – Set and Enforce Boundaries) you will be equipped to act in alignment with your inner truth – to be congruent even if it feels risky and uncomfortable.
Perfectionism and a fear of failure often holds talented, high performing women back from achieving their potential. In Act of Confidence #5 we support you to redefine your relationship with fear and failure, this supports you to take small steps that often feel uncomfortable at first, however they enable you to act in accordance with what is most important to you, your values and beliefs. There’s a sense of freedom and relief in being able to finally align your inner and outer worlds and operate congruently.
The program continually questions the old habits and default behaviour patterns that undermine career progression, and fosters that inner alignment and discernment of what truly matters to you. It’s essential to learn when to assert yourself, when to detach, and when to release unnecessary burdens of responsibility that aren’t genuinely yours.
Congruence, Confidence & Authenticity as a Leadership Quality
Congruent, confident, and authentic leaders inspire others. Leaders who exemplify these qualities have an inherent ability to inspire others, inviting others to follow in their footsteps and further amplify their messages – there’s a positive ripple effect of congruent leadership.
“If you clearly define your values, you can more clearly set boundaries to uphold them. Congruent leaders function from a set of fixed values and beliefs, which guide confident and consistent decision-making. As a result, they are more trusted because they are more predictable. They make difficult decisions more swiftly. They structure their life and actions around working toward the same goal with laser focus and command unparalleled power and influence as a result.”
If the organisational culture is hierarchical, rigid and bound by formal or informal rules, means that people are unable to share freely, speak up or offer a counter perspective, they will feel repressed, dismissed, or ignored, this creates a sense of incongruence because their valuable insights are overlooked or not welcome.
To address this, organisations have an opportunity to foster a constructive, open and innovative culture, that provides an environment which encourages authenticity and congruence. This requires a level of leadership maturity that means that individuals are able to speak their truth, innovate, and challenge the status quo, without fear that they’ll receive backlash or be excluded.
For more information on how your organisation can build that leadership maturity please reach out via email@example.com.
For individuals who’d like to experience more congruence and alignment, book a 15 minute Confidence Breakthrough Call.