Self confidence is important in all aspects of our lives, and especially in our leadership role.  But it’s something that many people struggle to obtain, and without it being successful is a lot more difficult.

For instance, someone who stands with their head held high, speaks clearly, answers questions with conviction and who can admit to not knowing something, is very persuasive.  On the other hand, most people are reluctant to back a project pitched by someone who is overly apologetic, fumbling their words and discomfortingly nervous.

Self confidence shows in many ways – your behaviour, your posture, what you speak about and how you say it.

Someone who lacks confidence can fear failure, cover up mistakes, take credit for others work, seek compliments, avoid making decisions and behaves according to others’ standards.  Someone who has self confidence does what they think is right, takes more risks, admits and learns from mistakes, encourages development in others.

Luckily, self confidence can be learned and increased – both for yourself and for your team – if you have determination and focus.

Where are you Now?

  • Take stock of what you‘ve achieved so far.  This helps you to recognise, and keep on recognising your successes. Small successes add up to a bigger achievement, but often we forget to even notice the small steps we are taking.  What are you strengths, where have you achieved something of value for your organisation?  Then look at this successes list every morning and every evening, and keep adding to it.
  • Own your past and value the lessons you’ve learned, as you are the only one who has experienced that exact journey and you have a wealth of knowledge to bring to your leadership now.
  • Review your development areas.  Which areas of leadership would you like to develop?  What behaviours in others who you respect as great leaders would you like to be able to emulate?  However, it’s important to remember that your responsibility is to be your best self, not an exact carbon copy of anyone else.
  • What are you values?  What’s important to you, as a leader?
  • Listen to and keep a note of your self-talk.  You can also enlist the help of people you trust here, as it’s important to really understand when you are speaking negatively (I can’t do…, I’m useless at, I’ll never be able to… etc) as it can be surprising how often we do it.
  • Also take note of the situations that you feel motivated and positive in, as there are likely to be patterns here too that you can use going forward.

Are you determined to succeed in building your confidence?  As well as maintaining the above and challenging any self doubts, you can:

  • Set some small goals or targets.  It’s not necessary to set huge goals that can make you feel overwhelmed – you want to remember to take one step at a time (as you don’t need to look at the furthest step when you set out: you look at the individual one ahead of you, and gradually make your way up!)
  • Build on your knowledge and experience, by finding ways to develop the required skills and practise them in a safe environment.
  • Start with the basics.  Perfectionism isn’t necessary, as you gradually build your confidence through experience and learning from mistakes.
  • When you’re seeing results, start to stretch yourself.  As your confidence grows, you can take on bigger challenges and goals.  But remember to record your successes, review your learning and keep your mind in a positive state.

Self confidence inspires others (inc bosses, peers, employees, customers), which in turn helps that person find success of their own.  So you owe it to yourself to build your confidence, help your team find theirs, and reap the benefits.

What ways have you found to build your confidence (whether in or outside work)?  Can you learn from these and bring the skills in it to your work environment?

If you’re looking for support while you build your confidence, you can review the various options for executive coaching.  If you have a one off event, we can also help with a Confidence Boost session.




  1. Arti

    So very true Karen. Loved reading it. It’s interesting to see how people perceive confidence in some people who actually lack it without knowing clear diff!!

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