Regardless of your job title, have you ever thought of yourself as a leader? A leader is any person who guides a group. If you’re a parent, you guide your children to live fulfilling lives. If you’re a financial advisor, you guide your clients to wealth. If you’re a coach, you guide your clients to becoming their best selves in their career or personal life. There’s a leader inside all of us, and you may not have discovered your leadership abilities yet due to one obstacle blocking your path: a lack of confidence. I haven’t always been confident in my sales, communication, and leadership abilities, and sometimes I still falter. So, I’ve curated some tips for you to learn how to increase confidence and make way for your best leadership self.
What Causes a Lack of Confidence?
A lack of confidence can also be called low self-esteem. Self-esteem is the confidence you have in yourself and your abilities. According to BetterHealth, low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can manifest as soon as you hit education years, with the most common cause being subpar academic performance. Relationships, financial status, and career paths can also be contributing factors to low self-esteem. When learning how to increase confidence, a good place to start would be identifying your low self-esteem’s root cause.
How to Increase Confidence and Leadership
1. Celebrate Your Success
From a young age, it’s engraved in your brain to not boast or bask in your wins. Sayings like, “This is why we can’t have nice things” and “Knock on wood” show the negativity that society has paired with positivity, instilling the need to always prepare for the worst when something good happens. “This is why we can’t have nice things” highlights that something good will always be ruined, and “Knock on wood” is said for luck and out of fear of something bad happening to your good state. But what if you unlearned this societal norm and just celebrated your wins, not worrying about something bad to come? If you had a successful sales proposal that led to a new client, celebrate your results, and don’t worry about the outcome of your next presentation. Also, see what you did well, and replicate it. A strong leader knows how to celebrate their smallest and biggest wins while not worrying about the future but still having the ability to adapt.
2. Mind Your Self-Talk
Fun fact: not everyone has a little voice in their head. According to psychology professor Russel Hurlburt, only 30-50% of people have internal dialogue. Even if you don’t have an inner voice, self-talk is how you speak to yourself out loud too. Oftentimes your self-talk is the loudest and most critical when you make a mistake. You know the saying. “You’re your own worst critic?” Minding your self-talk means altering how you speak to yourself from being critical to reflective. When making a mistake at your job or at home, instead of spewing shame-filled words like, “I’m so stupid,” swap them for words of development: “How can I avoid this in the future? What did I learn from this? How will I improve?” When you transition your self-talk from critical to developmental, you’re stepping into your best leadership.
3. Identify Your Strengths
Every strong leader understands not just their own strengths, but their team’s as well. For example, a football coach won’t put a kicker in a quarterback position, as they know their superpower is kicking, not throwing. Putting a kicker in a quarterback position sets them up for failure. The same idea can be applied to your work. Don’t set yourself up for failure by playing to your weakness. Get specific and identify what your strengths are and incorporate those in your workflow. Not only will your performance improve, but you may enjoy your work even more and witness a boost in confidence. For example, if you connect with your clients better through in-person conversations, ditch your email and invite them out for coffee!
Your Best Confidence and Leadership Are Waiting
High levels of confidence and strong leadership go hand-in-hand, as they’re built on the same habits:
- Celebrating and replicating wins.
- Reflecting on mistakes and learning from them for improvement.
- Identifying and harnessing strengths.
Of course, you’re human, so some days your confidence level may be lower than others. That’s okay. As long as you follow these three tips, you’ll get your confidence and leadership back on track.