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How to Build Your Confidence as a Leader

By Stephanie Wells, founder of Formidable Forms, a drag & drop form builder for WordPress that empowers freelancers to create form-based solutions.

As a leader, having confidence is a must. It enables you to grab an audience’s attention, build healthy relationships with customers and grow a successful, thriving business. 

But what if you struggle with self-confidence as a leader? 

When you run a team and a business, it’s crucial to develop your leadership skills. This ensures that you’re equipped to handle conflict, continue processes, maintain relationships and grow your brand. If you aren’t confident in these skills, you’re bound to face more challenges and watch your business stagnate. 

Unfortunately, confidence doesn’t appear overnight. It takes a conscious effort to strengthen your skills, manage a team and come up with solutions.

If you want to grow your confidence as a leader, here are three tips to help you get started.

Do Your Research

How much do you know about leading a team and being good at it? To cultivate your confidence and begin reaping the benefits, you need to do your research. It’s important to learn about the requirements of being a successful leader that others look up to and trust. Unless you continue to pursue this knowledge, you’ll stay stuck in the same position and mindset.

There are several ways you can learn about being a better leader including reading books, taking online courses and speaking to other leaders. Even the best managers and bosses have new things to learn since no one is perfect and there’s always room for improvement. Having a mentor allows you to freely ask questions and receive helpful insights you otherwise might not have access to.

Build Connections with Other Leaders

For most positions, gaining hands-on experience is the key to enhancing your skill set. The easiest way to build your leadership confidence is by speaking to and spending more time with other successful leaders. They say you’re the product of the five people you surround yourself with, so if those people have the qualities you want in yourself, you’re already on the right track.

Other leaders are a wealthy source of information, inspiration and knowledge. You can use them as mentors to gain new perspectives and ask useful questions about how you can improve your current processes.

Joining a professional network of leaders in your industry will help you stay on track and feel more secure about your position. You can share common challenges, frustrations and experiences that show you aren’t alone and have what it takes to get where you want to be.

Cultivate Self-Awareness

To change any habit or improve in any area, you need self-awareness. Self-awareness is the act of being conscious about your desires, feelings, motives and more. Building your level of awareness allows you to accept your shortcomings so you can change them and feel more confident in your abilities moving forward. 

There are many ways you can cultivate self-awareness as a leader:

  • Ask for feedback. It might be difficult to hear what others have to say, but it’s necessary to hear others’ thoughts so you can make better decisions. You can gather feedback from mentors, employees and other leaders to get a well-rounded idea of how you can improve.
  • Monitor your self-talk. A huge part of confidence comes from how you speak to yourself. Do you dwell on your failures? Or do you accept them and understand that you can do better tomorrow? If your self-talk is largely negative, this will translate into lower confidence levels.
  • Practice self-reflection. It’s important to regularly check in with your thoughts, actions and behaviors to understand how they affect your confidence. It helps you identify where you went wrong as well as what you’re doing right so you can eliminate the bad habits and keep the good ones.
  • Set boundaries. As a leader, many people want and need your time. But it’s crucial to know where to draw the line so you don’t feel overwhelmed as this leads to lower confidence. Learn when to say “no” without feeling guilty for putting yourself first.

The more you develop your own awareness, the easier it’ll be to boost your confidence and lead your team.

Over to You

It might feel difficult at first to boost your leadership confidence, but the more you stick to it the easier it’ll get. No one becomes confident overnight. It’s something you need to consistently cultivate to see results and build a motivated team that enjoys what they do. How will you develop your confidence as a leader?

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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