There are probably a hundred definitions for leadership, but none stand out quite as much as the one drafted by Laozi. According to the Chinese philosopher, “Leadership is your ability to hide your panic from others.”
Yes, leaders are people too, and they panic when faced with difficult situations. But being able to ‘hide’ the panic and find a solution to a challenge is a crucial characteristic of a leader. And the ability to do this comes down to
one of the most critical aspects of leadership: confidence.
This post discusses everything you’ll need to know about leadership confidence. In it, you’ll learn the connection between confidence and leadership, the qualities of a confident leader, the benefits of leadership confidence, and more.
The critical connection between confidence and leadership
Confidence is the foundation of leadership. Its importance can’t be glossed over. Without confidence, authentic leadership can’t exist. You can learn to be a problem solver, a good communicator, or acquire any fundamental of leadership from coaching or training. Still, you must believe in yourself to be a successful leader.
The question then becomes – how can you gain confidence as a leader? One proven method is to invest in executive coaching, an approach that many Fortune 500 companies have embraced for their high potential managers and executives. Coaching helps you achieve new levels as a leader and improve your performance.
Research shows that becoming a confident leader can make you:
- Happier, with improved relationships
- More ambitious and motivated
- More productive
- More creative and innovative
The bottom line is, confidence is the backbone of leadership. It’s what separates great leaders from average ones.
Why does leadership confidence matter?
Confident leaders improve the overall productivity of an organization. In addition, they have the tremendous power to influence others positively.
Here are five reasons why leadership confidence matters:
1 – Confident leadership increases team commitment
Less confident leaders can be crippled by fear. They fear looking bad, losing their job, or ruining their reputation. This means they can’t stand up for the team when facing criticism, and they’ll likely backpedal for fear of consequences.
On the other hand, confident leaders will stand up for their team in the face of unreasonable individuals. In turn, this increases the team’s commitment and motivation.
2 – Confident leaders tackle issues quickly to reduce team disruption
Confident leaders aren’t afraid of setbacks or challenges. They can have difficult conversations with their team members and other stakeholders. They’re always ready to solve complex situations around them and their team.
This means that they don’t postpone challenging discussions for later. Instead, they handle issues facing their teams quickly, minimizing team disruptions.
3 – Confident leaders delegate more easily
Leaders, of course, must delegate. They are humans and can’t do everything by themselves. Delegating builds trust, empowers your team and promotes professional development.
But you can’t delegate if you aren’t confident. Less confident people feel insecure and can be ruled by fear. And when you’re controlled by fear, you trust people less with most things, meaning you end up doing them yourself. This increases the probability of experiencing burnout and reducing productivity.
On the other hand, being confident means trusting your team enough to share tasks among them.
4 – Confident leaders bring out the best in others
Confident leaders are less self-conscious and worried about what other individuals think and say about them. This makes it possible for them to focus more on others. Even better, when you’re less preoccupied with yourself, people feel comfortable around you and become energized to accomplish their objectives.
5 – Confident leaders promote creativity and inclusiveness
Being a confident leader doesn’t mean that you always have the correct answer. Instead, it means that you’re willing to take opinions from your team. As a leader, you don’t need to know everything. All you need to know is that you have the right employees who can help you achieve your goals.
Confident leadership is all about taking feedback and input from team members, increasing the pool of opinions, and developing better outcomes. Confident leaders have the heart to try new things and learn from mistakes and failures. They encourage their subordinates to be creative and innovative.
What are the qualities of a confident leader?
As John Maxwell, an American author, pastor, and speaker, once said, “people buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” This means that your followers need to know that you can be trusted. Confidence in yourself is one way to build that trust.
Here are five traits that a confident leader should possess:
1 – Courage
Being courageous is a crucial quality among confident leaders. It’s what allows individuals to speak up about unpopular or hard opinions, voice a new idea, hold a difficult conversation, or provide feedback.
Courage allows confident leaders to see a conflict or discomfort as a growth opportunity. They don’t shy away from challenging situations but rather welcome them to recognize fear and experience transformation. To sum it up, a confident leader will choose the right way over the easy way.
2 – Strong self-awareness and learning agility
Confident leaders have strong self-awareness and emotional intelligence. As a result, they understand themselves, their emotions, and their feelings better, making it possible to relate well with those around them.
Such leaders also have strong learning agility. They can learn through practice, effort, and experience. In addition, their ability to learn allows them to be resilient when they face failures, setbacks, or mistakes and makes them better decision-makers.
3 – Positivity
Confident leaders turn negative energy into positive outcomes. They can control their emotions, making it possible to channel that energy into productive things. They aren’t easily poisoned by negative energy.
4 – Integrity
Confident leaders have strong ethical principles that they always follow – even when others aren’t looking. This quality allows them to focus on the physical and emotional wellbeing of their subordinates, promoting productivity within the organization.
What’s more, leaders that show integrity are trusted and valued, mainly because they’re dependable and trustworthy in their decisions. They aren’t afraid of the truth, and they stand for what they believe in.
5 – Open to risks
Yes, confident leaders are risk-takers. They aren’t afraid to blaze a trail into the unknown. They’re open to taking risks and learning from their failures. No matter the outcome of their action, confident leaders always gain something.
Becoming a confident leader
If we’re to follow John C. Maxwell’s definition of leadership, everyone is a leader to some extent or capacity. He said, “leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”
We all have been leaders in situations at school or at work, in our community, in our family, in almost every sphere of life. So it’s likely you’re already a leader and ready to move into being a confident one.
Here are a few things you can do to develop your leadership confidence even further:
- Learn about leadership – knowledge is power!
- Invest in executive coaching, a proven way to uplevel your skills
- Create a network with other leaders for support
- Develop realistic self-awareness through acquiring feedback from your team
- Encourage others to be more successful, and surround yourself with others who have confidence
- Celebrate your wins and those of others
- Work on your emotional intelligence. High emotional intelligence supports and creates confidence
- Project confidence by centering yourself, this will help decrease anxiety in order to show up as your authentic self
- Develop a sense of humor, and learn to be ok with being uncomfortable
- Ask for help when you need it. Even the most confident leaders are willing to ask for help.
Summing It Up
There you have it: everything you need to know about leadership confidence.
Becoming a confident leader is only one step of the journey to excellence. However, as I’ve pointed out – successful leaders also need emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and resiliency in the face of conflict or challenging issues. But confidence plays a key role in each of these building blocks.
The road to leadership excellence is not always an easy one, and most leaders need support, a coach in their corner as a strategic thinking partner. Having a coach often provides managers and executive leaders the confidence to level up their careers and their performance.
If it’s time to become a confident leader yourself, book a 30-Minute Discovery Call with me to learn more about my coaching services, and let me help you propel yourself higher.
Here’s to your success!