Confidence – The Key to Successful Leadership

Confidence – The Key to Successful Leadership

Without confidence, a manager will struggle to come across as a natural born leader. The reality is that anyone can get promoted but not everyone takes to leadership like a duck to water. Sometimes it takes training in the art of leadership or to work on the relationship with your inner self to provide the assertiveness and confidence to come across as strong and dependable, or someone worth following.

When people say that business is modern warfare, it only serves to highlight how adaptable you must be to survive and thrive within such a fast-moving, hyper-competitive environment.


Leading with Vision

To be a leader, you need vision. The company has goals and objectives set for it. The leader must marshal their resources, bring in the vice presidents and departmental managers to embolden them with their vision of the business. This, in turn, is distributed down through drive and passion to the individual teams. This is what we’re all trying to achieve. While their individual assignments and roles may not seem critical to the goal, the reality is that everyone matters and contributes to the joint achievement of important milestones for the business.

Successful leadership means being able to communicate what the overall mission of the business is. Sometimes this is clear and easy to understand. For instance, the vision of Space X is to make space travel more frequent and affordable through reusable rockets. Their vision is to put people on Mars in the next decade and to get regular people into space. With Microsoft, Bill Gates’ original vision was to get a computer in every home and office in the country (he only later said he fell short with that goal and should have said the world).

The vision provides a clear sense of shared purpose for the entire organization regardless of what job each individual person performs. Everyone matters because they’re all helping the company achieve its grand vision. It then becomes a collective vision. A confident leader can communicate this with a passion that translates into buy-in and action within the whole organization.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are a vital part of leadership. When you’re awkward with any type of communication, it translates in the business world into a lack of belief in what you’re saying. When it seems like you don’t believe it, then people on the receiving end won’t either.

Communicating with people runs the gamut from speaking in-person, in a virtual meeting, giving a presentation to board members, encouraging a manager when they’ve had a recent business or personal setback, or connecting with an individual member of staff. Even short missives over email need to be crafted with care to create the proper message.

Many times, getting better at interpersonal communication is about practice.  Perhaps you’ve been recently promoted into a leadership position, have little or no previous leadership experience and are trying to find your sea legs. Until then, you’ll seem a bit wobbly on your feet, even if that’s only an internal worry. Other times, taking a training course to deal with interpersonal hang-ups can be useful iron out the communication kinks.

Executive Communication

Communicating at the executive level is certainly something that requires confidence to pull off. If you have some hesitation dealing with other managers, then you might find that assertiveness training would be useful for you to master. Sometimes it’s a matter of the business language used within meetings and short one-on-one conversations that you’re not used to or need to brush up on.

There are many types of options for taking a business course focused on gaining confidence personally and becoming a better communicator, so a lack of confidence won’t hold you back any longer. Certainly, review training options on to locate a suitable assertiveness training course.

You can either fund the course fees yourself and take some vacation time to attend the course privately or ask your employer to consider covering the cost of the training. Not everyone feels bold enough to ask their employer to pay for an assertiveness training session because it might create some doubt in their decision to promote or hire you for the position. For this reason, it’s often beneficial to take the course in your free time and treat the expense as an investment in your career.

Communication with Team Members

Whether you’re managing a team or leading the whole organization, knowing how to relate to other staff members at any level of the organization is important. Using emotional intelligence at work helps you to appreciate the feelings of people around you and see how what you do affects how they feel in a given situation. Being so wrapped up in your work that you cannot relate on a basic level with staff members can cause problems like distance and a lack of empathy. Staff can sense this aloofness and it doesn’t help them with identifying with the goals of the business if you’re the company’s CEO.

Negotiating with Clients or Suppliers

Confidence is required to negotiate successfully with clients for better pricing or to get a larger assignment from a supplier at a lower cost basis. When you’re too timid to ask for a discount, then no discount is usually provided. For smaller businesses just getting going, the leader has to wear multiple hats. You’ll get involved in sales, supplier negotiations, and a host of other unusual activities before there’s enough staff to delegate the responsibility more.

Without projecting strength during the negotiation, you’re always going to come out worst out of the deal. And when leading a large organization, the board just won’t accept inferior deals as many on the board are business titans themselves and know what’s possible. Holding onto a job in that kind of situation becomes increasingly unrealistic.

Negotiating with Financial Backers

When meeting with bankers, venture capitalists or other capital providers, it’s important to be clear about the financial numbers behind the business and what funding is required. During discussions, you’ll need to know what the business needs and why it needs it. How do the numbers break down and can these be adequately explained with full backing provided where necessary?

You must be convincing. Fumbling with papers or having to repeatedly look up details in a spreadsheet because you don’t know the numbers yourself looks like you don’t have a secure grip on the finances underlying the business. Not dealing with a problem of not being able to confidently put the details across convincingly makes it harder for financial backers to rubberstamp new funding.

Having confidence in both yourself and your ability to handle different work situations is essential to success in business. When you cannot be assertive because you lack the confidence to do so, other people will often take advantage of this perceived weakness and push their own agenda. This can lead the organization in a direction that’s not desirable.

Ultimately, when you’re unable to be assertive, it becomes next to impossible to get the results that are expected of you within the organization – or in any relationship for that matter. All the indecision, inability to ask for what is required and mental distraction is the undoing of yourself or the company. The general lack of decisiveness causes confusion for all your direct reports and the business appears rudderless. If you feel that you’re in this situation, get some training to learn some practical techniques that will help resolve the problem.

Back to Top