Career Center, College of Business

Five steps to be a more confident leader

By Quintin Seguin | May 22, 2024

When a leader is not confident, it can cause organizational problems. This might take the form of postponed due dates for important projects, withholding critical information, or losing the trust of employees.

Being a confident leader looks different to different people. When working to become a confident leader, you can do a few things, such as working on relationships with employees, seeking continuous input, being vulnerable, and focusing on developing others. 

Building relationships with employees is crucial if you want your employees to work hard for you. If they feel like you have their best interest in mind and genuinely care for them, they will want to see the business succeed in all areas.

Small gestures like asking how family members are doing can go a long way when the question comes from someone who holds power. When there is a disconnect, production and quality of work can fall.

From a position of power, it is crucial to be receptive to input from the lower levels. It is essential to know how your people feel and what their needs are. They may even be able to offer you sound advice on a particular function from which the organization could benefit. When you are the boss, it is even more important that you listen to the ideas of your employees.

Listening to your workers instead of speaking over them will give them the sense that they are valued. Telling someone what to do and listening will get you different outcomes. If you listen, they will feel that this is their project as much as it is yours, even though you have the final say. Moreover, the respect and loyalty you will earn from your employees will fill you with a sense of confidence. 

Showing vulnerability can be an excellent way to highlight your confidence. Making mistakes is often viewed as a negative, but if you can take a step back, look at the error, and realize where you went wrong, you will improve (and the entire team will benefit).

When bosses put blame elsewhere, they never learn the importance of being vulnerable and how it can help change you for the better. Your employees will also respect you more for claiming your mistake. It lets them know that you are human. Being vulnerable as a leader shows that you are confident in your ability to lead. When you can transfer knowledge to someone else, it is a gift.

A company is only as strong as its front-line workers. The more you put into employees, the more the company will get from them in return.


References

Sijbom, R., & Parker, S. K. (2020). When Are Leaders Receptive to Voiced Creative Ideas? Joint Effects of Leaders’ Achievement Goals and Personal Sense of Power. Frontiers in psychology11, 1527.https://www.newsweek.com/11-effective-strategies-boosting-leadership-confidence-1586123

Lederman, M. T., Kruman, Y., & Hinrichsen , J. (2021, April 26). 11 effective strategies for boosting leadership confidence. Newsweek. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://www.newsweek.com/11-effective-strategies-boosting-leadership-confidence-1586123


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