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3 Secrets to Building Greater Confidence as a Leader

Boosting and Improving Confidence as a Leader

Most leaders if they were asked if they have ever struggled with confidence and self-doubt, and they were honest with themselves, would say yes!

Lack of confidence as a leader comes from many places including how we feel about ourselves and how we believe others feel about us.

Confidence allows leaders to stand up for what they believe in, have the courage to take risks with the possibility of embarrassment and and face the unknown with little fear.

But confidence doesn’t magically appear because you desire it. For many leaders it requires a great deal of self talk, reflective thinking and perspective. Like most self improvement it requires work.

Here are three ways leaders can build and improve confidence in their leadership.

1. Stay focused on your vision, not yourself. Stephen Covey once said, “seek to bless, not impress.” When you focus on yourself, you look for all of the wrong signs that you are succeeding and begin to stray from what matters most and what you should value most.

I have found myself from time to time in this trap as a leader. For example, while I had focused on improving performance, I had been more concerned with not upsetting those I lead, or doing my best to please everyone. Both of these approaches took me away from being a leader and instead trying to be a friend. Doing what is best for others and the organization, isn’t always popular with those you lead.

When you’re not focused on your vision, and instead focused on what others think, you begin to look  more for approval than results. You won’t please everyone, so don’t try. Stay true to where you want to go and stick with it. Allow your vision to be your north star in the decisions you make and your confidence will grow.

2. Focus on you. Kind of a contradiction of my first tip, right? Not really. What I am talking about here is improving yourself.

Learn as much as you can about the business you are in, ask lots of questions of other leaders about their challenges, read, read, read, and share what you are learning with others (we remember more of what we teach).

Strengthening your knowledge always strengthens your confidence. For those of you who were not blessed with math smarts (like myself), think about this easy example. How much more confident would you be in teaching simple Addition as opposed to Algebra?

In addition, eat well, exercise and get lots of sleep. I have always found that when I am healthy and feel better, my confidence is strengthened significantly.

3.  Embrace the positive. I have kept what I call my “positive file,” for a number of years. Whenever someone writes me a nice note, or I get some type of special recognition, I file it away in my positive file.

Whenever things get me down, or my confidence has been shaken for whatever reason, I have gone to this file as a source of strength. It works.

Focus on what you have achieved as a leader. Take the time to reflect on every good thing you have done, you might be surprised by how much you have really done. By nature many of us are too hard on ourselves. We only look at the negatives. But there are plenty of successes to celebrate and reflect on as well that will provide a needed boost to your confidence.

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