Are you leading with confidence?
In my work as a leadership coach, I often find myself speaking with leaders who feel that they’re lacking in confidence. In some cases it’s because they’re new in a role and are still finding their feet but, more commonly, I find it to be an underlying issue that might be holding leaders back from being their best.
Many leaders want to work on their lack of confidence – aiming to be more courageous and bold in their leadership style while still be authentic and natural. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but a lack of confidence isn’t always the disaster it’s made out to be. In fact, it can be worse for teams if their leader has an excess of confidence, with no fear or consideration for the way they need to incorporate others’ opinions and ideas into their thinking and leadership style.
The hidden benefit of a perceived lack of confidence is that it forces many leaders to look for the things that allow them to keep building that confidence and they see their leadership grow as a result.
Here are five things you can focus on if you’re looking to lead with more confidence:
Walk the talk
Leaders don’t have everything figured out just because they’re now in a position of power. In your own team or organisation, you might be trialling things and testing things out – maybe this is a decision or a policy change – and the future might be uncertain. If you want your team on board, you need to commit to the change. Don’t just tell them that the change is important, show them how you’re putting it into play, so they can follow your lead.
If leaders can’t commit, their teams are unlikely to and whatever the change in your team might be, it has a lower chance of succeeding in the long run.
Leaders who never say sorry are often trying to project a certain image of themselves, pretending as though they’re never wrong. But confident leaders are willing to acknowledge when they’ve made a mistake. We’re all human, after all, and mistakes do happen. When you admit that you were wrong, you’re showing your team that you’re confident and committed to trying again.
Listen to your team
Confident leaders know that their answer isn’t the only answer. Whenever possible, ask your team for their input – whether it’s about the kind of coffee you serve in the break room or a big policy change. Your team has valuable ideas, opinions and perspectives that can help you to build on your own understanding and make a better decision for your team.
Plus, when your team has the opportunity to get involved, they’re more invested in the decision, taking ownership in the outcome and leading alongside you, rather than feeling out of the loop.
Make considered decisions with conviction
While it’s important to consult others to take in as many different ideas and perspectives as possible, it’s also important to make a decision in a timely manner, without sitting on it for weeks or months beyond what’s reasonable.
Decisive leaders are seen as confident. Not only that, but being decisive requires standing behind the decision, leading it with conviction knowing you’ve done everything you can to make the most informed choice. This doesn’t mean standing behind the decision with no willingness to change approach if it’s not working.
Communicate across channels
Everyone has their preferred ways of communicating – whether it’s email, online chats, SMS, face-to-face meetings – but to be an effective communicator in 2024, leaders need to be utilising multiple channels every day.
Confident leaders are great communicators and know how to get their message across. Using multiple channels is the best way for your audience to get the message and pay attention.
Wherever you are at in your journey of trying to build confidence, remember that it’s not just about building your self-confidence, but also about building your team’s confidence in you as a leader. There can be a fine line between confidence and arrogance and it’s always better to steer well away from the latter.
Want to become a leader that grows in self-confidence while fostering team trust? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.