I probably don’t need to tell you that increasing your confidence will make you a better leader. My question is, are you doing anything about that? Knowing it is important doesn’t change your experience of leadership. Acting on that knowledge does. If it is time for you to take action and become a more confident leader, keep reading.
Let’s start with what a simple search on the Internet might show you. Articles on LinkedIn, MindTools and Inc. Magazine tell leaders to boost their level of confidence because research shows us again-and-again that:
The confidence to move forward despite challenges
The level of confidence I’m talking about is not the know-it-all, arrogant and domineering kind. Instead, the kind of confidence that is necessary for effective leadership is the courage to move towards the shared vision, despite challenges. Leaders who demonstrate high confidence keep taking action, regardless if it’s clear how the team will do it. They trust they will figure it out along the way.
The confidence to admit you don't know
It is the leaders with high confidence that are comfortable admitting they don’t know and asking for help. They get really good at asking questions and encouraging communication on their team. Confident leaders don’t need to be the person with all the answers. They have the certainty that someone one their team will either know or they will figure out the way. They give them the resources to do that.
The confidence to make mistakes
Leaders who are self-confident are not afraid to make mistakes. They aren’t worried about the hard work that it is going to take to reach the goal. They know there will be challenges along the way, and they have the faith that they and their team will get through them. Mistakes are a given. Errors will be made. Confident leaders see them as stepping-stones along the way.
The confidence to trust
To lead in this way requires high levels of trust. The leader must trust themselves; their words and actions. They must trust their team. That means they know things will not always go as planned but trusting that together they can get back on track when something throws them off their path.
This is inner confidence
Perhaps you know all of this. Maybe you’ve experiences with a leader you report to. You may even find this at various times in your own leadership. When you trust and believe, things just work out better. The trick to developing this kind of unshakable confidence more often is to develop your level of inner confidence.
Inner confidence is being able to manage your thoughts
Inner confidence doesn’t come from others telling you that you have done a good job. It comes from you learning to manage your thoughts and emotions. An inner level of trust in yourself and what you are capable of is a result of believing. That starts with your thoughts.
Inner belief in yourself is required regardless of skill level
You may find that you then need to take some training or practice a certain skill. For example, you may realize that you need to improve your presentation skills. Before that, though, you must believe it will make a difference if you do. After learning the skill you need to believe that you can use it effectively. These are all thoughts. This is the basis for inner confidence.
A tool to help you
I recently wrote a book to help leaders learn to get the inner confidence they need to grow and develop themselves. It helps leaders become more aware of their thought and manage their thoughts. When leaders increase the ability to be mindful of what is going on inside of them, they find themselves more assured to deal with what is going on around them.
Develop your inner confidence to become a better leader
If you know it’s time to work on your inner confidence, start with becoming more mindful of what you are thinking. Look for ways you can trust what is going on. Accept the fact that you don’t need to know all the answers, be in control of everything or clear on every step ahead of you. Instead look for ways to use the resources you already have to simply take the next step.
Kathy is a leadership coach for women who want to strengthen their leadership and find balance in life. She mentors women as they rediscover their purpose, passion and persistence for life while dealing with office politics, jerk bosses and the challenges of family life. In her signature program Women with Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence, Kathy gives her ladies the hope and inspiration they need along with a kick in the pants to make positive change in their lives.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.