All great leaders have one thing in common: self-confidence. Believing in yourself and your abilities is the first step to inspire others. A survey of 500 female executives conducted by Helene Lerner, founder of WomenWorking, found that 86% of participants said it helps to use one’s skills and make an impact. In other words, when you are successful at work, you will feel more confident. However, 76% of the respondents also said that making mistakes and recovering from them also enhanced their confidence.
So, what should you do if you want to build your confidence to be a great leader?
Firstly, don’t worry about being perfect. There are no right and wrong answers in complex decision making. The best that you can do as a leader is gather all the information you can, weigh up the benefits, use your best judgement and then go for it.
Pick a role model and ask what makes this person an admirable leader. How do they communicate and hold themselves? Which of their positive qualities do I already possess, and which can I build upon?
Understand the power of body language – because you don’t always have to be confident on the inside to show it on the outside. According to Harvard University researcher Amy Cuddy, standing and sitting in ‘high-power poses’-- shoulders back, opening up your body and head raised, can reduce stress by 25% and make you feel more powerful.
Give yourself the credit you deserve. Acknowledge the ways you have grown in the last six months and positively affected others. These accomplishment should be celebrated, so celebrate them!
Ultimately, confidence has to come from within. If you truly believe in your skills and worth, you will not only excel in your career you will also inspire others to do the same.