When leaders lack self-confidence, they will often ultimately sabotage their own long-term success and the success of the company they work for. This is not because they want to, far from it, but because their insecurity often damages their decision-making process, their ability to see things through, and their relationships with other members of the team.
Why is self-belief so crucial to leadership success?
Without self-belief, we often stumble when we’re forced to make difficult decisions, we tend to give up when things get difficult, might procrastinate due to fear of failure and we can suffer conflict within ourselves and with those around us due to feeling like an ‘imposter’; feeling undeserving of the job.
When a person with low-self belief inhabits a leadership position the team often suffers, with the leader sometimes guarding their knowledge rather than sharing it. Perhaps hesitating when making difficult decisions, or even putting others down in order to appear like a strong leader.
On the other hand, when a leader displays calm confidence, a team can flourish. Confidence in leadership is inspiring, it’s infectious, it encourages creativity, and it’s a major factor that can make the crucial difference between a team’s success or failure.
This begs the question of those running or owning companies how confident are your leaders? If you have highly skilled leaders on your senior teams with potential, but signs of low self-esteem, how can you ensure that they grow their confidence to become the leader you know they can be?
How can leaders grow their self-confidence?
Happily, self-confidence is like a muscle and it can therefore be built up with exercise. By developing your leaders professionally, their self-confidence grows in leaps and bounds with each new skill they add to their leadership arsenal.
Ways leaders can build self-confidence
- Dress well and exhibit confident body language. Visual cues are extremely important to how others perceive us and in turn how we perceive ourselves. Dressing for success is a great way to boost self-confidence and also generate the confidence in us held by others. Amy Cuddy has also carried out breakthrough research on the remarkable effectiveness of striking ‘power postures’ to trick the brain into releasing confidence hormones, proving once and for all that you really can ‘fake it until you make it’.
- Become the master of emotions. When a leader is visibly stressed, their team reacts to the visual cues and so too become stressed or rapidly lose faith in their leader’s ability to lead them through tough times. Learning stress-coping techniques such as mindfulness can be helpful for low-confidence leaders, thereby building true confidence along the way. (See our recent blog on mindfulness in management training.)
- Just when we think they’ve run out of reasons that exercise is good for us, they find another. It’s been proven that when we exercise, our brains produce long-lasting ‘nanny neutrons’ which are released to calm us down when we become stressed or fearful.
- The tools needed for success. Whether it’s a strong team, the right technology, or support from upper management, having access to the right tools will boost a leader’s success rate and with it their confidence to face challenges as they arrive.
- Leaving the comfort zone. Nothing builds self-confidence faster than mastering new skills and the more challenging the better! A leader should always be developing new skills set to grow their confidence in their ability, so ongoing training is imperative. People are generally pleasantly surprised at what they can do when they’re put to the test, so if leaders are stuck in a rut it’s a good idea to challenge them with some new goals and training. (Be sure to be supportive and explain your belief in them when setting these new challenges, otherwise they may fear that you are setting them up to fail if you suddenly change your expectations without warning.)
At Excel Communications, we specialise in leadership development where your leaders can learn and practice new skills to run their teams with the self-confidence needed to drive the business to new heights of success.
Are your leaders using the right style of motivation for their team members? If not, we can help. At Excel Communications we have delivered Leadership and Management training over 30 years on four continents in multiple languages. You can view the results we get for clients here. Alternatively call us on ++44 (0) 1628 488 854