Leading without confidence is like trying to drive a car without gas! It just doesn’t work!
Confidence is a basic and necessary component of leadership, whether you are leading others or simply leading you! And it’s really a no brainer – you don’t want to fly in a plane with an unsure pilot, sit in the chair of a hesitant dentist, or surrender your locks to a tentative hairstylist!
Last week I did something bold – you might even say rather crazy! I scheduled a haircut with someone brand new. No recommendations; not even an online review to guide my decision. Purely a leap of faith! A leap that landed me with hair a good eight inches shorter than planned!
The fact that the gal arrived a good twenty minutes late in a frenzied state was not reassuring. In hindsight, it should have sent me running! Instead, I found myself attempting to calm and urge her to B-R-E-A-T-H-E before carefully explaining what I wanted done: nothing drastic – truly, just a shape up. I witnessed her nods of understanding and assumed that I was safe in her chair. After all, the guy I made the appointment with assured me she had the skills to handle contrary curly hair like mine.
When she finally spun me around, and handed me a mirror, I confess I was in utter shock. Not one to hide my feelings, it was evident that where we had arrived was not where I had hoped. That began a series of back and forth exchanges that resulted in more snipping, before I finally put the kibosh on the cutting and went home – hair still wet.
Later that night, after my hair had dried, even my husband could see the peculiar “steps” in my hair. So first thing the next morning I called the salon. Unable to connect with someone personally, I left a message that I would be coming in to get my hair fixed. Secretly I was praying that the gal who started this unique new do would NOT be the one to finish it.
The minute I opened the door I realized this was not God’s plan! So back into her chair I went, doubting this would end well.
Long story short – somehow the one with the scissors was incapable of seeing that one side was longer than the other – something my husband noticed the minute I got home. Tell you the truth, I had more confidence in my own cutting abilities so I evened up my hair myself– it just cost me another half inch or so! Ugh!
You’ve probably already figured out that I won’t be back!
People take their cues from the one in charge. When that person, whether they are a hair stylist or the top dog in a multi-million dollar company, exudes confidence you can relax and follow with ease.
A confident leader creates an atmosphere of safety, space for creativity and innovation to flourish, and welcomes the ideas of others. They communicate clearly, empower others, and have a contagious passion for what they do.
Being a confident leader isn’t about appearing strong and ordering everyone around. That’s probably an insecure leader who is overcompensating. Arrogance, the inability to listen, consider the ideas of others, and micromanaging can be indicators that a leader lacks confidence.
The good news – it’s possible to develop your level of confidence whether you oversee yourself as an entrepreneur, solopreuner, or coach; or if you lead vast numbers of people as a high level executive.
Here are twelve ways you can boost your confidence. It’s impossible to change everything all at once, but by focusing on one of these areas each month for the next year, you will be well on your way to being a more confident leader! Now that’s something to get excited about!
1. Connect With the Source of Confidence
Self-confidence is all the rage, but true confidence comes straight from God! That’s “God-Confidence” – the confidence that comes when you know you’re abundantly loved by Him. Regularly connecting with Him changes you from the inside out and allows you to settle into your true identity.
Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence. I Corinthians 10:12 (MSG)
2. Invest in Growing
Get serious about growing as a leader. Read books, attend conferences, take classes, or spend time with leaders you respect – whatever it takes to expand your understanding of leadership. Need a few suggestions to get started? Checkout Multipliers, The Power of Positive Leadership, or Leadership Beyond Reason.
3. Develop Self-Awareness
Without self-awareness you will keep making the same mistakes, and those mistakes will lead to even bigger mistakes that may prove costly. This past week I heard about a leader of a multiple million dollar company who believed himself to be on fantastic terms with his clients. Unfortunately he was very confused and his clients were actively looking for ways to avoid working with him. Without awareness, there’s little hope of fixing the relationship and it could make a significant dent in his company’s future revenue.
There are a variety of ways to gain self-awareness including identifying your strengths, your values, your personality (DiSC), or thinking preferences (HBDI) for starters. You can also begin journaling or arrange a 360 assessment. Partnering with a coach is a practical way to dig deeper and discover new aspects of yourself that you might not discover on your own.
4. Assist Others
Being confident is not about being the best. It’s about helping others be their best! How can you begin actively looking for ways to help others succeed?
When you are confident, it easy to initiate a culture where the wins, milestones, and accomplishments of others are readily acknowledged and celebrated! Be the first one to give a shout out for a job well done that includes specifics about what was done well.
6. Stand for Something
Leading to be liked is a dangerous way to lead! Make it your goal to focus on others without compromising what’s right, your values, or your character. Make it your goal to develop thick skin, refuse to worry, and definitely don’t take things personally.
7. Be Authentic
Being a leader doesn’t mean you have to be perfect or have it all together. No one does! Your people will appreciate you more if you are authentic and appropriately vulnerable. Acknowledge your mistakes – it gives others the freedom try new things without the fear of failing.
8. Stand Up and Smile
It seems like a little thing, but dressing the part, standing up tall, and smiling – those wee efforts will significantly boost your confidence!
9. Ask for Feedback
There are things your people wish you knew about how you lead – I guarantee it! Without permission, and a safe place to share, you will remain in the dark and unable to improve the way you lead. Stop guessing what those around you would like you to do differently, and start inviting feedback.
10. Ask for Help
Surprise! As the leader you don’t have to have all the answers! Nope! It’s OK to ask for help and invite the ideas of others. Sometimes the best solutions are the result of a constructive debate!
11. Make Bold Decisions
It’s hard to embrace the decisions of someone who is wishy washy. Practice making bold decisions and remember, it’s OK to make mistakes – especially if you learn from them!
12. Tame Your Fear Monster
Last, but certainly not least, come face to face with your Fear Monster and recognize the role it plays in limiting your confidence. All that inner dialogue and self-talk can munch away at your confidence like nobody’s business!
Imagine the impact it would have, personally and professionally, if you were more confident. Not arrogant, but secure, humble, and bold in your ability to lead. What difference would that make?
What’s your next step to becoming a more confident YOU?