How To Beat Imposter Syndrome And Build Your Confidence As A Leader

Do you lack confidence as a leader? It’s a common problem, and something we’ve seen more and more of lately. 

Many new and developing leaders think they’re not good enough, and don’t have all the tools and resources to lead confidently. But it is possible to build your confidence and bridge that gap to improve as a people leader.

We’re sharing how to do just that.

You can listen to us discuss this further on the People Leaders Podcast or continue reading below. 

Trying is the first step

We have a belief of who we are as a person. Your thoughts, feelings and emotions about who you are are reflected in your actions. But they’re things that you can control. Everything else in life is uncontrollable. 

So how do you become confident at anything? You can break it down. 

The first thing to do to improve your confidence as a leader is to simply try. With repetition and learning, you can become masterful at something. 

It might be to run successful team meetings, which is a good one to master because it impacts the whole team. Or maybe you want to get better at setting clear goals, or having one-on-one performance discussions. 

Whatever it is, just start with practical but high impact ideas in order to build your confidence. 

Practise makes you better

Confidence comes down to your mindset but a big part is also about simply trusting yourself. You have to back yourself. And the way to do that - to become competent and to really trust - is with practise. 

By putting your foot in the water and just trying something, even if you fail at it, you will still be far more competent that you were before you tried. 

And that's where trust comes into it. Trust that things aren’t going to go wrong because you've actually learned something. Because if you are not doing that, you're not learning and you're not growing anyway.

Believe in your ability

A big problem we see with high achieving people is the struggle with imposter syndrome - doubting your achievements and the fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.

I (Jan) think it’s because they know what they don’t know and have such a broad scope of understanding in so many areas, they know they can’t be on top of everything. This is where bridging that confidence gap is so important. 

As a leader, you have to trust yourself but also other people. And you can only trust other people to the capacity that you trust yourself.

I (Michelle) was working with a client who was new to a leadership role and was worried about not having the answers. The organisation thought it would be good for her to develop her leadership skills, so she opened up to her team about her lack of confidence in that area which started a whole new positive dialogue. 

Using your vulnerability

You need to be vulnerable to ask for feedback and help, especially as a new leader. You don’t want to come in and change everything straight away. You need to get feedback and work with your team, not against them. 

We have some great resources on the People Leaders blog and website to help with team meetings or having one-on-ones or setting goals. 

So just start with one area where you want to improve your confidence and competency and practise. Get feedback and refine and then learn to trust yourself. The only way to improve is by going out of your comfort zone and by trying. 

And if you’re up for some next-level support, take a look at our brand-new program for new and emerging leaders - What Every New and Emerging Leader Manager Needs to Know About Leading People and Teams

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