CONFIDENCE IS BUILT DURING PRACTICE, NOT ON GAME DAY
Confidence in your own leadership skills is one thing, but it needs to be validated by others. Authentic confidence requires goodwill and 360-degree trust.
In a high-performing sports team, players trust each other, they trust the coaches, and they trust themselves. The players and team leaders are experts in their positions, but they all play the same game.
Having faith in your abilities is valuable, but it doesn’t put you in the game. The coach’s belief in you and your skills is what gets you in the starting line-up. What’s more, each player must show confidence in their team mates, be willing to pass the ball and let them take the shot.
Confidence, in both yourself and others, doesn’t happen without practice. Whenever you start building a new business relationship, do you immediately trust your counterpart’s abilities to deliver? Do you think they trust you in the same way?
The assumption of goodwill is an integral part of a healthy company culture, forming a solid basis for confident leadership. As soon as you become suspicious of your business partner or team member, it’s not only the dialogue and relationship that starts deteriorating – it’s the entire culture. Remember: Culture is what drives the behavior of employees, which you can affect by leading by example.
The way to build authentic confidence through leadership is by acting with integrity, setting high expectations, and being committed to learning and growing.
Values-based leadership starts with awareness
A confident leader acts with awareness, not of only of what they know, but what they don’t know.By being true to yourself and your values you can act and lead with integrity.
Acting with integrity has two aspects: recognizing your values and conducting business according to them. If you’ve chosen to be part of an organization or a team, it means you’ve accepted those shared values as part of your identity, and are ready to stand up to what you believe is right for the business.
Leaders are geared for lifelong learning
Learning can sometimes be humbling, which makes both insecure and arrogant leaders averse to it. Confident leaders are wired to learn and grow.
There will be times you’ll struggle with saying the words, “I don’t know” out loud. You might assume it’ll affect your status or reputation when, in fact, the opposite is true. Accepting you don’t know the answer is a sign of confidence – and a visible testament to your leadership skills. Knowing and admitting the limits of your knowledge shows you’re open to learning.
But note this: Replying “I don’t know” to everything is not the goal. Choosing to find the answer is a key aspect of a growth mindset, a vital leadership quality.
Leaders set high expectations - for themselves and others
As a team leader, your focus should be on developing your people. But when expectations aren’t met, you also need to have tough conversations and give constructive feedback.
One facet of confident leadership is setting high expectations for your team and recognizing when targets are reached. When they’re not being met, the gaps need to be addressed in a constructive, collaborative way.
Do you automatically trust a new colleague? How do you build confidence within your team?
Confidence Checklist for Leaders
A high-performing team is made up of players who trust each other, themselves, and the team leads. This 360-degree confidence takes both practice and goodwill, the latter being fundamental to a healthy company culture. Culture, after all, drives the behavior of employees.
Act and lead with integrity by being true to yourself and your values.
Learning lasts a lifetime. Remember: Accepting you don’t know the answer takes confidence.
Set high expectations for yourself and the team. Recognize when targets are reached and when they’re not, and address the gaps.