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Lessons in Leadership: Lesson #4 | Confidence

Likely the most important trait of a successful leader is their self-confidence. Day in and day out, leaders are tested to stand by their opinions, make tough decisions and challenge their teams. The only way to do this while being flexible, providing support, and being transparent is with confidence.

“Self-confidence is the fundamental basis rom which leadership grows. Trying to teach leadership without first building confidence is like building a house on a foundation of sand. It may have a nice coat of paint, but it is ultimately shaky at best.” – Francisco Dao, “Without Confidence, There is No Leadership” 

Have you ever experienced a leader who lacked confidence? Did you feel successful as a member of their team? Keep in mind that that is how your team responds to you as well. Self-doubt is easy to see. While we’ve discussed that leaders can benefit from showing a little vulnerability every now and again, it’s important that they maintain their control. When we operate in a space of confidence, we’re able to accept criticism, make clear decisions, and most importantly inspire our teams. It’s easy to follow a leader who knows what they want. It also makes it easy for employees to relate to them in times of vulnerability because it’s an opportunity to provide support.

On the flip side, when doubt creeps in, we operate in a space of fear, and this makes us especially defensive. Have you ever had a supervisor who wasn’t completely confident? It may have been difficult to make suggestions or ask questions about their decisions because they were coming from a place of fear.

So how can we boost our self-confidence and be sure that we’re leading in a clear and confident manner? While it’s a tough thing to teach, we’ve compiled some of our favorite pieces of advice from the leading experts.

“Get the facts first. Feelings of anxiety of doubt – both signs of shaky confidence — start with a negative thought, such as “I’m terrible at giving presentations.” Most of the time, those thoughts are false. To stay confident, put negative thoughts to the test. For example, if you think investors doubt your abilities, ask yourself what evidence you have to support that belief? What evidence do you have against it? If the facts suggest it’s true, then brainstorm solutions to fix the problem. If not, use your list of evidence to help you toss that belief aside.” – Nadia Goodman, EntrepreneurHow to Think Like a Confident Leader

“ Learn to live with failure. Great salespeople are the ones who get rejected the most often. They just “ask for the order” more than the other salespeople. You are going to make mistakes. You are human. Learn from these mistakes and move on.” – Marshall Goldsmith, BusinessweekSelf-Confidence for Leaders

“How you choose to think determines how you act. Taking action builds your confidence. As a leader, you’ll experience many opportunities to build your confidence. Those opportunities often come in the form of fear or uneasiness. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Keep moving.” – WorkMattersThree Tips to Build Confidence as a Leader

Confidence is what stands between us and reaching our highest potential. It’s also what can stand between us and our teams. Remember to nurture your confidence and reap the rewards.








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