11 Tips to Build Leadership Confidence and Increase Success

Last Updated on November 13, 2022 by Milton Campbell

Do you find yourself lacking leadership confidence at times? A lack of confidence as a leader can put your leadership position or even job in jeopardy. 

Some people are born confident leaders but most of us take time and learning to get there. Contained in this article you will find all the information and tips to make you a confident successful leader.

What is Leadership Confidence?

There are many qualities a good leader should possess. Confidence is one of those leadership traits that are vital to your success as a leader. Leadership confidence allows you to make tough decisions when the time comes. Even if you make the wrong decision you need to have the confidence to know that you can get past it and recover. 

Confidence is not being cocky or conceited. As a confident leader, you need to know when to admit when you are wrong. Be aware of what you don’t know and try to find people with more information so you can make decisions with the most information possible. 

To be an effective leader, you need to be confident in your abilities. You need to believe you are capable of being as effective in your leadership role. Even if you feel like you have no idea what you are doing, you need to realize you will get there. 

The quicker you gain confidence as a leader, the more effective you will be and there are some things you can do to speed up the process.

Confidence is one of many traits that makes a good leader. Check out this article to learn about the other important leadership skills and traits.

What Makes a Confident Leader?

Confident leaders think for themselves. Although you may rely on others for guidance and knowledge, it is still up to you to make the call. 

Confident leaders accept when they are wrong but instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they look for a solution. You should never accept defeat, just look for another avenue. 

Leaders with confidence set goals with all intentions and beliefs that they will achieve their goals. If you are looking for a better way to set goals, check out this article on SMART goal setting

Confident leaders are not afraid to take risks. Now I’m not saying to bet it all and be crazy, but don’t be afraid of a little calculated risk especially if the payoff is huge. 

Why is a Lack of Leadership Confidence Bad?

People trust leaders that exude confidence. If you allow people to see you as an unconfident leader, they may find it hard to trust you or at least your leadership. This may mean subordinates either not listening to you or going around you. It could also mean those above you not trusting your leadership and going around you directly to your subordinates. Both of these scenarios can be very frustrating and counterproductive for a leader. 

Can Confidence be built?

The good news is leadership confidence is like any other skill, it can be increased and improved upon. 

Does it take time? Sure. But if you put some effort and follow the tips below you can speed up the process and increase your leadership effectiveness significantly.

Is It Possible to Be Overconfident as a Leader?

There is a fine line between leading with confidence and being overconfident. You don’t want to fall into the trap of being overconfident because like other areas of your life, when you begin to feel unstoppable life will find a way to bring you back to reality.

It is important to recognize the difference between overconfidence and confidence. Just because you are confident doesn’t mean you are always right. When we confuse confidence with overconfidence, we can get carried away and lead others into situations that can put ourselves and others in compromising situations.

Overconfidence leads us to believe we’ve learned it all and there is nothing left to learn. Confident leaders understand this will never be the case. There is always more for us to learn. We’ve never seen it all.

How to Be a More Confident Leader

  1. Fake it Til You Make It

I’m not saying to be fake but sometimes you have to put on a confident face as a leader even when you are a little nervous. Many times this isn’t even for others, you are more or less convincing yourself. Acting confident until the confidence becomes natural.

  1. Look for Guidance

A great way to speed up the process of gaining leadership experience is to find a mentor. Good mentors can be supervisors, peers, someone who has done what you are trying to do, or even someone completely outside of the organization you are in. These people are great for providing a perspective that you might not even see.

  1. Find Your Vision

A vision is important for a leader in any situation. Having the right vision will motivate you and help provide you with guidance in your decision-making process. Having a strong vision that you truly believe in can produce spectacular results. 

Creating a vision statement is a great way to put your vision into words. For more information on creating an inspirational and motivational vision statement click the link.

  1. Build Your Experience

Building experience takes time. Even after you’ve been leading professionally for years people surprise you and new things come up. But this doesn’t mean you should just sit by and wait. 

Many of the tips contained here are to help you build your experience. Seek out opportunities to lead in new situations and ways. Embrace new opportunities. That leads us right to our next tip, get out of your comfort zone.

  1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

When we get comfortable we stop growing. I’m not saying to get crazy and put yourself in bad situations but push the boundaries of your comfort zone to grow as a leader and a person. If you do this enough and get good at it, you will begin to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations or situations you have not experienced. 

This can be trying something out like a public speaking event, taking on a new project at work, or even taking a dancing class. When you learn to embrace those types of situations, you will grow leaps and bounds. 

For a more thorough article on getting out of your comfort zone click the link. 

  1. Be Deliberate With Your Decisions

Decisions can be tough for leaders, especially new leaders. Have you ever thought “What if I make the wrong call?” That is a very good question. But instead of that making you change your mind back and forth you should be thinking about how you will fix it if you make the wrong call.

You should try to get as much information as you can before making a decision but don’t let that stop you from making a timely decision. There are many times when as a leader you will have to make a call, not knowing what the outcome will be. As long as you do your best to plan for as many possible outcomes as you can, you will be in a good spot. 

  1. Learn to Deal with Mistakes

One of the best things you can do as a leader is to not necessarily spend all your effort into avoiding mistakes but learn how to deal with mistakes. Many mistakes can be turned into positives if handled correctly. 

To be brutally honest with you, mistakes as leaders will happen. You just can’t be right all the time. If you are then you are probably playing it too safe. If you make a thousand mistakes, you learned a thousand ways not to do something. Most of the time you only need that one right way for it to pay off.

  1. Build Your Connections

Networking is a great way to help with your leadership confidence. Not only can you find some great people to mentor you but you can also find people that will be there to help you out when you need it.

Believe it or not, leadership is not something you need to do on your own. As a matter of fact, your success relies heavily or solely on your team. This is a great place to start with your connection building. You don’t have to become close friends with all the members of your team but it’s good to get to know them on a level other than the boss-subordinate level. 

A great way to build your connections is through LinkedIn. If you don’t know much about LinkedIn, it’s a social media website geared toward professionals. If you want to build a profile on LinkedIn that gets noticed check out the link.

  1. Celebrate the Wins

Recognize when you are doing a good job and celebrate it. Give yourself a pat on the back, treat yourself to something sweet, or buy yourself a little something. However, you want to positively reinforce the progress you are making. 

  1. Visualize a Confident You

This is a great way to practice anything new you are either trying to learn or trying to reinforce. It’s also free, super easy, and takes very little time. It’s like practicing with zero chance of failure and zero risk.

All you have to do is close your eyes and see yourself leading with confidence. See yourself in a situation that is either about to happen or will likely happen in the future. Allow yourself to feel what you would feel, hear yourself speaking with confidence, and try to smell the smells around you. The more senses you can involve the better and more realistic it is to your mind.

For more information on visualizing success click the link. 

  1. Expand Your Leadership Knowledge

There’s a vast amount of information out there to build your leadership knowledge. This can be a great way to expand your skills. 

This blog is a great place to start but there are many other free resources out there where you can learn and build your leadership skills. I made a great list of free online resources where you can develop as a professional. Click the link to check it out.

Final Thoughts on Leadership Confidence

Building confidence as a leader is something that can be done by all of us. It may take some time and effort but you can be a confident and successful leader. Check out some of my other articles below to build other leadership skills.

When you achieve confidence as a leader, things seem to come easier. You begin to enjoy the job a lot more and become a more positive person overall. Don’t just sit around and wait for it to come, make it a reality starting now.

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