Last month, during our Leader-Chip leadership summit, we had an interesting conversation about the role of confidence in succeeding as a leader. Actually, it wasn't a conversation at all - it was a debate! As two of our attendees argued over whether or not leaders can "fake it until they make it," the rest of the group listened closely and even voted on which side they agreed with. More on that later.
What was not up for debate was this: leaders cannot succeed without confidence. Confidence is a prerequisite for leadership. More specifically, self-confidence is the foundation upon which leadership can grow. Vince Lombardi explained it as "Confidence is contagious. So is a lack of confidence." Confidence lets us make decisions, have difficult conversations, and rally the people around us. How can a leader inspire their team members to follow through on a new initiative without confidence? I'll let John Maxwell answer that: "When the leaders lack confidence, the followers lack commitment."
Now, if you're in a leadership position, you probably don't have a chronic shortage of self-confidence. Chances are you've been successful in part due to your ability to project confidence in what you do. But from time to time we all find ourselves in need of a boost. So what do you do when you need that added confidence to get you through? Here are a few ideas to manufacture confidence in a pinch:
1. Reflect on Your Strengths
You have incredible skills and talents that got you where you are now. Take a moment to consciously appreciate the things you're good at and recognize those abilities. Keep a list of your strengths in your desk if you need a dependable prompt - this can be as easy as printing out a copy of your StrengthsFinder results, or a DISC personality assessment. Stay focused on yourself, without trying to compare yourself to anyone else.
2. Use Your Body
Get moving! Research tells us that our bodies can have a significant impact on our mental state. For one thing, simply standing up and walking around might be enough to shake you out of a self-doubt "funk" for a little while. For an added boost, try out one of Amy Cuddy's "power poses" to bring your confidence back.
3. Fake It Until You Make It
This advice inspires controversy - and was the basis for our debate at Leader-Chip. Does it really work to just act confidently - especially if you're a leader? Our audience voted yes, with the caveat that it has to be genuine. Your coworkers, family, and team members will know it if your supposed confidence is a total sham. Instead, decide to act confidently, surround yourself with people who will support you, and do the best you can. Do what Ralph Waldo Emerson says: "The virtue you would like to have, assume it is already yours, appropriate it, enter into the part and live the character just as the great actor is absorbed in the part he plays." Take a deep breath, round up your courage, and go do it!
What are your tricks for maintaining confidence? Have you ever had to fake it? We would love to hear from you! Send us a note and we might feature you in an upcoming blog!
Confidence is just one of a hundred topics that our Alloy Solutions team would love to talk to you about. For more suggestions on feedback, coaching tips, or difficult conversations, contact our Solutions Team or visit alloystrong.com. Better yet, give us a call today!