Confidence is one of the most important leadership skills you can have—but it isn’t always easy to come by. Confidence is grounded in your perception of your own abilities and how you come across to others. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to others and feeling that you’re coming up short—not smart enough, not successful enough, not advancing quickly enough—you can quickly spiral into self-doubt. Here are some of the insights I’ve discovered about confidence in my many years as a leadership coach:
Confidence is not just one thing. Confidence covers a range of perceptions, attitudes and feelings, and labeling yourself as lacking confidence is an unhelpful generalization. At any moment we’re almost all very confident in some respects and unconfident in others. Get to know the entire profile of your confidence and the things that influence it from day to day.
Appearances can be misleading. Many people who appear to have a great deal of confidence actually have no more than the rest of us. The difference is this: they know that they might make a mistake, get something wrong, or put their foot in their mouth, but they keep those possibilities in perspective and know that it’s not life or death. Most people feel less confident than they look, and remembering this can help you navigate your own moments of unconfidence.
Confidence comes from doing things well. Before you can do anything well, you have to learn how to do it badly. Confidence comes from practicing your capabilities and competencies. Once you know that you can start something and improve on it through practice, you’ll feel less anxious about taking on new roles and skills.
People take you at your own estimation. Ask yourself what habits you have that may signal to others know how you feel about yourself. Even if you think you’re hiding your thoughts, people will pick up on your level of confidence and adjust their expectations to match. True confidence is hard to fake—you need to develop it as something you feel and know about yourself.
When a leader lacks confidence, the consequences affect the entire team. Unconfident leaders withhold information, postpone important decisions, and have trouble building teams and inspiring them. Without confidence, there is no leadership—because what you don’t have, you cannot give to others.
Leadership can be difficult—at times it’s just about impossible to navigate—and if you don’t have confidence in yourself, your team isn’t going to have confidence in you or in themselves. Cultivating your own confidence is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your team.
Lead from within: If you want to generate self-confidence, learn more about what causes you to have lack confidence. It is only then that you can build your self-esteem.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.