How to Develop the Self-Esteem of a Leader
What does it take to become an effective leader? Some believe it's the ability to make people do their assigned tasks effectively. While others think it's the ability to be an all-around person, in terms of team management. Or it could also be one's effectiveness in tackling every single task at hand.
In most cases, it’s all of the above. The truth is leadership requires the flexibility to undertake assigned tasks and responsibilities. You must also become a people person and be able to talk through everyone into finishing what needs to be done, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
To be able to establish good leadership in your team, you must be confident in yourself and in your ability to lead.
Self-confidence can be described as the ability to be certain of one's skills and competencies. This is necessary for leaders, especially when taking risks and setting big goals. According to a study called Chance and Chance in 2002, “Leaders who are self-confident tend to deal immediately and directly with problems and conflicts.”
Furthermore, a Harvard Business Review article said, “Very few people succeed in business without a degree of confidence.” Indeed, becoming a leader means there’s no room for timidity. Trials and people will challenge you from all around, and you must be able to withstand all these.
Building your self-confidence may not be easy, but it’s a necessary step to becoming an effective leader. Here are 14 ways you can start building your self-confidence today:
1. Pick a Role Model
There are many personalities out there who possess great self-confidence, like Barack Obama, Emma Watson, Angelina Jolie, among others. Choose a leadership personality you admire and analyze the qualities that that person has, and see how you can incorporate it into your own leadership style.
2. Stay Positive
Self-confidence is associated with thinking positively. As a leader, you should be able to look at the bright side of every risk you take, to achieve your goals with your team. In being self-confident, you must be able to believe in yourself and your team that you’re capable of doing this or that. Practice blocking out negative self-talk and replacing it with positive thoughts. Pretty soon, you'll be surprised how this can make a difference in making your life as a leader more manageable.
3. Do Not Let Self-doubt Consume You
If you have those days when you feel like you can’t do it or you don’t deserve to be a leader, that’s okay. Everyone gets those days. One thing to keep in mind, though: if you don’t address the doubt you have in yourself, it won’t go away on its own. To overcome it, understand where it's coming from, then resolve to get it out of your system.
4. Believe That You Are Enough
As a leader, all eyes will be on you. Along with this would be people who can't wait for you to make a mistake. Understandably, mistakes can take a toll on your self-confidence in leading your team. Instead of focusing on your mistakes and naysayers, choose, instead, to focus on the people who believe in you. And keep in mind that you deserve your position; remind yourself that you earned it.
5. Earn Respect
As a leader, you’re expected to make decisions based on your abilities, and not on others'. On the flipside, your decisions won’t be liked by everyone. Earn respect for making decisions regardless of what other people think. The great Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you’ll be criticized anyway”.
6. Take The Initiative
Make the first move. As a leader, people will want to follow your example; they will want to observe how you do things and solve problems effectively. Become that role model to your team by taking the initiative.
7. Focus on Your Strengths
Leadership, especially in the world of project management, calls for you to be “good at everything,” considering you’ll be managing teams with varying tasks. In spite of this, take time to recognize the skills or the strategies you excel in and focus on them. Do not be afraid to do things based on what you believe is right.
8. Develop Your Weaknesses
The reality is nobody is good at everything. No one's perfect, not even you. Make your imperfections work for you by turning them into strengths. In building self-confidence, recognize your weaknesses and work on them. For areas that fall far from your skills or expertise, consider this as an opportunity to exercise task delegation.
9. Do Not Dwell on Mistakes
Even great leaders, like Barack Obama, have made mistakes along the way. To make mistakes is to be human. So, relax, be kind to yourself and never let one mistake define you as a leader or prevent you from achieving your goals. As mistakes happen, learn from it to become a better leader.
10. Be Ready to Get Uncomfortable
As a leader, many situations will require you to step out of your comfort zone. Consider this a good thing. Self-confidence and overall growth are developed when you take the courage to take on responsibilities, even when they can be uncomfortable at times.
11. Give Yourself Permission to Do One Thing at a Time
A common misconception about leaders is that they are expected to finish everything all at once. Consider this: you’re only one person. Multitasking is not applicable in all cases. And the truth is you can only do so much at any given time. Trust the process, and take your time to complete your tasks. This way, you can assure the quality of your work at all times.
12. Trust Yourself
To build your self-confidence as a leader, learn to trust yourself to make sound decisions in the face of difficulty. Most of our decisions are based on our experience and intellect, with a little influence from the emotions we feel about certain situations. So, when you get a certain feeling during moments of decision making - trust it. It’s not just sudden bursts of emotions.
13. Learn to Manage Your Expectations
As a leader, setting high standards may come naturally to you--but maybe not to others. Hence, learn to match your expectations with real-world scenarios. Accept that not all your team members will embrace or want high-quality standards. Some will get their job done, and that would be enough for them. How you'll get these individuals to buy into your standards is a challenge worth embracing. In the meantime, save yourself from frustration by learning to manage your expectations.
14. Celebrate Your Achievements
You have all the right to be proud of your achievements, no matter how small. Take pride in what you do, as this will motivate you to become better. Along with this, your self-confidence will grow. Remember, too, to remain humble, in the process, no matter what.
Francisco Dao said, “Trying to teach leadership without first building confidence is like building a house on a foundation of sand. It may have a nice coat of paint, but it is ultimately shaky at best.”
Your self-confidence is an essential part of your leadership. Being confident means, you are courageous enough to take the big, risky steps for your team and you’re positive that you’ll be able to succeed in each of them.
To be a leader is no easy job, so is boosting your self-esteem. But keep in mind that without confidence, you cannot be a great leader; and it’s highly likely that your team will crumble.
Everything starts with confidence. Success, respect, a dream team will follow. So, take that first step to boosting your self-confidence. Make it a commitment as part of your lifelong learning.
About the Author:
Angelique Luna is a Senior Human Development Consultant who loves to travel and go out with friends. Aside from living and breathing in the HR industry, I also enjoy writing about home living, environment, sustainability, marketing, and new media.