How to Boost Your Leadership Confidence!

It may appear as if it is easy for leaders to have confidence and you may think the best leaders always do, but I will let you in on a little secret: That is simply not true!

Every leader at some point — perhaps even frequently — may doubt their ability to lead. A situation may present a challenge beyond their experience, they may encounter a difficult stakeholder (client, board member etc.), they may have had a difficult discussion with their boss, they may be receiving a more than expected amount of resistance to their latest strategy or it could be spillover from something that has happened in their personal life. The feeling of lack of confidence can also seemingly come out nowhere and catch a leader off guard. Whether a leader recognizes the source or not, the feeling can destabilize a leader if not rectified.

It’s perfectly normal to experience a lack of confidence; it’s part of the learning process.  Like all learning, whenever there is a feeling of discomfort at what you don’t know, the only way to get to the other side is to go through it and not give up.

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There are three confidence boosters that I share with all leaders that have helped me and many other leaders deal with a lack of confidence.

1. Know who your cheerleaders are and call one or two if the lack of confidence lingers. This could be your mom (yes, most moms are our best cheerleaders!), your best friend, your partner, your sister or brother, or a colleague who has your back! This first call is primarily to cheer you and tell you how great you are! Bask in the positive feedback.

2. When you are ready for more balanced feedback, call a mentor/coach. This step is important if this becomes a pattern or if it comes at an inconvenient time and you need to fix in a hurry. Getting support to help you through this and to aid you in recovering is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

3. Write your Top 10 list. Take the time to identify and write down your academy award list of leadership achievements. You can include colleagues you’ve helped to prepare for promotion and career advancement; awards you or your team have won; positive performance review feedback; thank you notations from colleagues/clients or financial successes. Pick the things that resonate with you personally as your leadership story. Carry this with you and read it whenever you need it. It may sound egotistical, but it is not. It is a welcome reminder of how you have navigated other difficult or challenging situations and it can immediately change your mood – because this list is the real deal. This list is not made up. It needs to be factual and based on your own leadership achievements.

For my other thoughts on leadership, visit here.


Sandra Hokansson

Sandra Hokansson
Sandi Hokansson is a certified executive-level coach and principal of SoundLeadership. Reach her at sandi (at) soundleadership (dot) ca.

Sandra Hokansson

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