What to Do When You Doubt Yourself as a Leader

Everyone struggles at times with self-doubt, but that struggle can be especially difficult for people in leadership. Leaders are expected to always be self-assured, assertive and poised. But what happens when you begin to doubt your own abilities? What can you do when you’re worried you don’t have what it takes?

As long as you address it instead of ignoring it, self-doubt is something you can understand and manage. Here are six things to try when you need to get your groove back:

Know you’re not alone. As a leadership coach, I assure you that leaders experiencing self-doubt about their abilities is more common than you would expect. Practically every leader—even the most capable and successful—goes through a stage of self-doubt at some point.

Remember that breakdowns can lead to breakthroughs. Sometimes you need to get to a low point to make the adjustments or pivots you need to move to the next level of your development. Breakdowns often mean you’re on the edge of a terrific period of growth and discovery.

Ride the wave. When you’re experiencing self-doubt, it’s easy to feel frustrated and anxious about yourself. But the best thing to do when you feel doubtful is to ride the wave. Think about the context of what you’re feeling: When are you most doubtful? In whose company? In what situations? Treat it as a part of yourself to understand.

Treat your struggle as the beginning of a success story. You may not enjoy the challenges, but the things they’re teaching you are likely to contain the seeds of eventual success.

Don’t try to go through it alone. Most leaders who doubt themselves want to keep their struggles to themselves. Instead, surround yourself with people who believe in you, people you trust to guide you. Let them be there for you, and in turn you can likely do the same for them someday.

if you can’t change the situation, you have to change yourself. If a specific situation is causing you to doubt yourself, turn it around by becoming more diligent in the things you know how to do. Practice focus and discipline in your work and try to do at least one thing every day to fuel your sense of accomplishment and achievement. Over time, it will boos your self-confidence.

Get outside help. If self-doubt is starting to have a negative effect on your leadership, maybe it’s time to get outside help. A coach can be the perfect person to help you break out of a spiral of self-doubt and get back on track to achieving the things you want to do.

As leaders, we’re all human and we all suffer from self-doubt from time to time. It’s what you do in those situations that matters most.

Lead from within: Don’t be surprised or concerned about times of doubt. It’s only a problem if you do nothing to understand or address it.



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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.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

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.

  1. Bren Murphy

    03. Aug, 2019

    Overcoming self doubt is the main point of my spiritual journey at this stage of my life. I can see how changing myself and being focused on my own growth is the way to breakthrough. Biggest revelation I have learned, and you touch on it here Lolly, is that I cannot isolate and go it alone – I am in a much better place when I share my vulnerability and seek support and feedback.

    Reply to this comment
  2. asianwomanleadership

    05. Aug, 2019

    Much appreciated such a great amount for perusing our blog and, besides, for your extra tips! You simply made our post wealthier!

    Reply to this comment

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