EVERY person is a leader in some capacity or context: in your family, in situations at work or school, in your community… in virtually every sphere of life.
That is because, in the famous words of leadership guru John C. Maxwell, leadership is about one life influencing another.
We ALL do that.
The question is whether your influence is:
- High impact
- Low impact
My guess is that you are like me – you want to influence and impact others in a positive way AND in the most potent way possible.
That begs the question… as a leader, how can you increase your level of positive impact on others?
From my research and personal experience, there is a quality you can exercise (and grow in) that can supercharge your positive influence on the lives of others.
That quality is confidence.
As a leader one of the things that’s most important is to know your team needs to see you as confident.
– Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors coach
In fact, a review study found that in the ten meta reviews of research on effective leadership traits, self-confidence was the ONLY trait that appeared in an overwhelming majority (80%) of the lists.
It is a “must have” quality if you want to maximize your influence.
Thankfully, one’s confidence is like a muscle that can be developed and strengthened.
The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born… that people either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.
– Leadership Expert Warren Bennis
I will show you an effective way to grow your confidence as a leader, but first let’s explore the 5 indisputable benefits of being a confident leader.
5 Powerful Benefits of Being a Confident Leader
Before we get into the benefits experienced by confident leaders, I want to clarify something.
When I talk about being a self-confident leader, I’m not talking about an ego-fueled “I’m always right, you’re an idiot if you don’t listen to me” type of confidence in self.
Instead, I am talking about men and women who have a quiet poise and self-assurance, free and secure from the need for self-promotion, having to be right or affirmed in every situation.
To get the complete picture of this type of leadership, read Quiet Confidence: 10 Attractive Qualities to Die For.
This quietly confident leader has amazing power to positively influence others. Here are 5 powerful benefits.
1. Confident leaders are admired and listened to more often by others.
Many research studies (e.g. Kilduff/Galinsky) have confirmed that people with greater confidence are more highly regarded.
One reason is that our brain uses a shortcut to quickly form an impression of a person or situation. The brain bias that comes into play here is called the confidence heuristic.
This bias tends to automatically give greater respect to people with confidence. It is almost as if it assumes that if someone believes in what they are saying, they are probably right.
I also think there is something else unconsciously going on. I believe we all secretly desire the ability to feel confident and certain, especially in the context of uncertainty. We crave certainty. We admire that quality of confidence… and those who exhibit it.
2. Confident leaders experience greater competence and success.
When tackling a skill-based task (e.g. giving a speech, playing a musical instrument or a sport, starting a business), a person with stronger self-confidence will more readily take on the challenge, and persist until they reach their goal.
In contrast, people lacking self-confidence will more quickly talk themselves out of trying (it’ll probably turn out poorly so why even try?), or give up more quickly if they do start because of self-doubt.
As noted by Dr. Scott Kaufman, Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute at the University of Pennsylvania:
A bulk of research shows that when people are put in situations where they are expected to fail, their performance does plummet. They turn into different people. Their head literally shuts down, and they end up confirming the expectations. When they’re expected to win, their performance shoots back up. Same person, difference expectations.1
To put a twist on a classic Jim Rohn quote-
If you really believe you will succeed at something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t believe, you’ll find an excuse.
A confident leader will continue to grow personally because they aren’t deterred to take on challenges and see them through to success. This will also inspire others to persist because they can see firsthand what success looks like.
3. Confident leaders bring out the best in others
Leaders with a quiet, secure sense of confidence are less self-conscious and worried about what people think of them. As a result, they are able to focus more fully on others.
When you are not preoccupied with yourself, people relax around you and are even energized because you are focused outward and able to bring out the best in others. You are focused on helping the team move forward, not worried about who gets the credit.
A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
In contrast, the ego-focused, insecure leader is so preoccupied with themselves that they offer very little to make others feel valued or help them reach their potential.
They are users of people, not investors in people.
Insecure leaders use others to make themselves appear greater. Secure leaders invest in others to empower them to become greater themselves.
4. Confident leaders can take people beyond where they think they can go.
Human nature is inherently cautious. Researchers have noted what they call the status quo bias: people strongly prefer the safe and known option over the unknown choice.
Confident leaders, on the other hand, are not afraid to explore the unknown.
They are confident they can adapt, adjust and learn from success and especially failure. That tilts the scales of risk vs. payoff, allowing them to see what is possible, not just the safe choices.
As a result, a confident leader can lead their team to places they normally wouldn’t go, instilling confidence in them that this uncertain option is attainable.
5. Confident leaders personally experience a fuller, richer life which inspires others.
Leaders with greater confidence are not afraid of new and challenging situations, to stretch and grow outside their comfort zone.
Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.
— George Addai.
Research psychologists Yerkes and Dodson discovered that for you and me to operate at our highest capacity (where we feel fully alive), we need to be in a state of ‘relative’ or ‘optimal’ anxiety (where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal).
In other words, you are at our best just outside your comfort zone (where your senses are heightened, and you feel more alive and alert).
People with a robust sense of quiet confidence are always growing, learning, trying (and at times failing) at new things… and enlarging their capacity to experience life.
Those who lack confidence pursue the safe, protected life and as a result live a small, shrunken existence within their comfort zone. They choose merely existing over the risk (and reward) of stretching and growing.
Becoming a More Confident Leader
Do you want to grow in healthy self-confidence and experience greater impact and a richer life? Take the Grow Your Confidence: Free 5-day video course.
- A powerful method called the Agassi technique that will enable you to face a challenging task where you lack confidence.
- A proven technique called the Snowball Effect that will grow your confidence step by step, day by day.
- How to diffuse a poisonous viewpoint that can crush your confidence and put you in a no-win situation.