What they’ve learnt: Rebuilding confidence in leadership

This week, we’re continuing our growth series as we take a closer look at what our clients have learnt over their time with People Make the Difference. This time around, Lisa Peterson has shared her leadership journey with us as the Director of Teaching and Learning at Newcastle Grammar.

Stepping into a leadership role can be daunting at the best of times – any change in position comes with a new set of challenges and opportunities to grow and it can be difficult to move from a role where you felt confident and sure of yourself to a role where everything is new and a little uncertain. Lisa came across this not long ago when she was selected to be a part of the leadership team at Newcastle Grammar.

“The Principal was new, stepping into a role that had been occupied for 25 years – there were big shoes to fill. She pulled together a leadership team that was made up of a lot of people who were new to leadership altogether,” Lisa said.

Clearly, Lisa’s new leadership role was going to be one that required a lot of tough learning curves – especially when the rest of the leadership team was also feeling their way through their new roles.

“At first I was always questioning my skills and ability to play a part in such a big task,” Lisa reflected.

It’s not uncommon for new leaders to have shaky confidence as they make their leadership debut, so how exactly do you rebuild your confidence when you find yourself in a new role?

Get some perspective

Remember your last role? It was comfortable and you were good at it … at least by the end of it all. But it wasn’t always like that – think back to when you first started your previous job; we’re sure it was daunting and you felt full of doubt at the time. Get some perspective and realise that any change comes with a little bit of uncertainty but also with plenty of opportunity to learn.

Lisa quickly found that despite her doubt, she was willing to grasp that opportunity with both hands: “I wanted to learn what it was to be a good leader; I wanted to get the practical skills and develop my confidence so that I could play my part in helping the school achieve their goals.”

Share your fear

We wouldn’t recommend sharing your fears and doubts with your team, after all, they need to trust you 100% and sharing your self-doubt might not be the best way to foster that trust. However, it is possible to have an outlet for your doubts in a mentor or a coach.

“As a leader – especially a new leader – you can often feel like you’re out there by yourself,” Lisa says, highlighting the importance of having someone to speak to when you’re not sure what to do or whether you’re capable at all.

Understand your role

“Working with People Make the Difference gave me an appreciation of how significant I could be in creating a positive culture,” Lisa said as she discussed how she’d grown in her perspective of her own part to play. “I knew it before but it’s really set in that everyone has a role to play in advancing a project, even if you don’t think that you are particularly important in the process.”

Knowing how your cog works in the machine makes it a lot easier to feel secure in your abilities and to feel less worried that you’ll be unmasked as a fraud.

Give yourself credit

One of the defining features of Imposter Syndrome is the doubt that creeps in even though there are proven successes in the past. Go over exactly the reasons why you are in the position you’re in, how you’ve managed in the past and what you’ve learnt so far.

“Craig guided me through reflection and looking back at how I had handled situations – it makes it a lot easier to see where you’re going from there.”

Lisa was also able to see how her confidence had grown as she was put in situations that she wasn’t naturally comfortable in: “I’m not one to go head-first into conflict, but Craig has taught me how those difficult conversations need to be had and you need to be sure of yourself and of your purpose.”

There is a reason you’ve been put in a leadership position, so build your confidence in the role around that reason and give yourself some credit for the hard work you’ve put in.

If you’re ready to start rebuilding your confidence in your own leadership, People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Our online leadership training videos start from $99 for a year’s access, with new video training added each quarter. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.