A leader’s behaviour can have a huge impact on how their team functions. One of the major factors which guides this behaviour is the level of confidence the leader has in their own abilities, and their capacity to handle any situations that arise.
Being a confident leader is good for your own wellbeing, because you’re less likely to be prone to worry and stress.
However, it’s also great for the team you lead. Let’s look at some of the reasons why.
Confident Leadership Increases Team Commitment
When a leader lacks confidence, they are less likely to speak up and support their teams. Why?
Because a leader lacking in confidence is crippled by fear. Fear of losing their job, fear of looking bad, fear of ruining their reputation … the list goes on.
So when someone starts to criticise your team or what your team members are doing, a less confident leader is more likely to backpedal and less likely to fight back for fear of the consequences.
This is particularly common when the criticism comes from somebody senior. The willingness of a leader to push back or “manage up” against a senior person is much lower in somebody who lacks confidence.
When a confident leader stands up for their team members in the face of an unreasonable stakeholder, this can greatly increase a team’s motivation and commitment to go “over and above” for their manager.
Tip for leaders: Take time to think about the longer-term consequences of failing to stand up for your team. You may damage the trust of your team which will result in greater problems down the road.
Related post: The #1 Way That Leaders Damage Team Trust.
Confident Leaders Tackle Issues Quickly to Reduce Team Disruption
Confident leadership means tackling the difficult conversations and solving the hard problems in and around your team. These leaders don’t necessarily like conflict, but they realise that working through conflict is sometimes necessary to solve problems and get results.
Confidence helps a leader have difficult conversations because they have strong belief that they are doing the right thing.
This comes from having an unshakeable understanding of what they will put up with in their teams, and what they won’t.
Conversely, a leader lacking in confidence may second-guess themselves, believing that they are misinterpreting what is happening. Or, they may simply feel they don’t have the skills to tackle the conversation.
This can lead to putting off the tough discussions “for later” and hoping that the issues somehow resolve themselves, which almost never happens.
Leaders who tackle the hard conversations are more likely to solve team issues quickly, reducing disruption and the potential to damage motivation within the team.
Confident Leadership Increases Inclusiveness & Creativity
It may seem like confident leadership means always feeling like you have the right answer. Actually, the opposite is true.
Confident leaders don’t feel the need to know everything, because they know it’s not realistic. Confident leaders also know that their team members were hired for a reason.
They were hired because they have the skills and experience to provide solutions, feedback and to do the real work.
That’s why confident leadership is about taking input and feedback from team members, to increase diversity of opinions and create better outcomes. Having the confidence to try new things and learn from potential failures also tends to create a more creative team dynamic.
Confident leaders aren’t afraid to fail. They know that they can often try things out and change them later if they’re not working. This means that their teams are more likely to feel as if they can suggest ideas and try things out without repercussions.
Leaders who lack confidence may find themselves feeling like they aren’t “the boss” if they let their team members contribute too much. However, when confident leaders take input and guidance from their own teams, they build trust because team members feel valued, appreciated and that their ideas and opinions matter.
Tip for leaders: Make an effort to include your team members in decision-making or brainstorming for matters that effect the team. If you aren’t able to act on their advice, explain the reasons why.
Confident Leaders Delegate More Easily
Delegation is a key leadership skill, but it’s hard for leaders who lack confidence. Why is this so?
Because when you lack confidence, you tend to feel insecure. You think that bad things are going to happen, and you are ruled by fear.
This fear means that you want to keep tight control over as many things as you can. Because when you control everything, there is less chance that somebody else will screw up or throw a spanner in the works.
However, the more you try to control, the more work you do, and the further stretched you become, until you exceed capacity and head for burnout.
When confident leaders let go and delegate, good things happen:
- Team members get the chance to take on different opportunities they might not usually have;
- You give team members the chance to improve their skills; and
- Team members feel as if they are trusted to get the job done.
Tip for leaders: Choose a task on your to-do list that you would normally do yourself. Try delegating it to an interested team member instead. Not only have you saved yourself time, you may have given someone a chance to learn new skills.
Related post: How to Delegate Work to Improve Your Team.
Being a confident leader is fantastic for your team. However, confidence isn’t natural for everyone, and different situations may make you feel more or less confident.
It’s always worth working on building your confidence, for yourself, and for your team.
Want to Improve Your Leadership Confidence?
How else have you seen confident leaders positively impact their teams? Leave a comment below, I’d love to read them!