Why Self-Confidence is Vital for Leaders

In a study by Melbourne University involving employees from large corporations in Melbourne, researchers concluded that “self-confidence is a key determinant of workplace success.” Additionally, Peter Northouse, author of the book Leadership: Theory and Practice, considers self-confidence as one of the 5 leadership traits, along with determination, integrity, sociability, and intelligence.

According to his definition, self-confidence is “an ability to be certain about one’s competencies and skills. It includes a sense of self-esteem and self-assurance and the belief that one can make a difference.”

However, if leaders have low self-confidence, this can ultimately affect the quality of their leadership. And while some leaders are naturally more or less confident compared to their peers, the literature has found that self-confidence is a quality which can be built and improved.

One reason why building and maintaining good self-confidence is important is because this plays a significant role in key leadership competencies, such as the ability to communicate effectively, and to motivate and influence others. A leader’s inner confidence is often revealed in their external behaviours, including their tone of voice and body language. If the team senses self-doubt, they could begin to lose confidence in their leader.

In addition, good leaders are known for their ability to speak about complex issues in a straightforward way. Those with conviction in their reasoning and decisions are less likely to feel the need to compensate with jargon and complicate ideas unnecessarily. This supports clarity and unity among teams and helps to avoid confusion which can undermine organisational objectives.

Confidence also helps leaders to leave their comfort zone and pursue ambitious courses of action. Rarely do individuals or teams achieve remarkable things by staying in familiar spaces. And the more leaders leave their comfort zone, the less daunting it becomes, which can reinforce a habit of seeking out new experiences, which open doors to growth, progress and success.

Conversely, low self-confidence can have damaging effects on leaders and organisations. One of these is indecisiveness and the tendency to delay decisions, which can be rooted in self-doubt and the fear of doing the wrong thing. In times of crisis, leaders could suffer confidence drops, which can stymie their decision-making. In such situations, it is vital to confront the causes and re-build lost confidence.

Ultimately, there is no substitute for real confidence; false confidence is often difficult to sustain and easy for others to see. Thus, it is important to improve confidence for authentic leadership. One way is through developing a good understanding of one’s weaknesses, which can be gained through self-awareness, self-evaluation, and feedback. By identifying weaker areas, leaders can approach personal development with real focus and take measures to ensure it does not negatively affect team outcomes. Working closely with a specialised leadership coach or mentor is an effective way to make effective improvements and equip leaders with the tools to advance their careers. Indeed, to inspire others and drive collective success, leaders must first have durable base of self-confidence.

STRAMMER has a team of dedicated coaches and mentors with years of expertise in helping leaders develop key leadership skills that drive organisational performance and increase preparedness for future challenges. Contact us today to learn more!

References:

  1. How to Communicate Like A Confident Leader, May 2017,
  2. Five Major Leadership Traits in Making a Builder, September 2017,
  3. Without Confidence, There is No Leadership,
  4. Self-confidence the secret to workplace advancement, October 2012,