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4 ways to effectively build confidence as a leader

A leader's attitude is a powerful influence on their organisation and people. One of the most important aspects of that influence is self-confidence.

Leaders with high levels of self-confidence are more likely to believe that they can overcome difficulties and achieve success. In contrast, leaders with low levels of confidence tend to feel less optimistic about their ability to lead effectively, which inhibits both a sense of personal potential and performance at work.

Leadership confidence is one of the traits of great leaders. It allows them to make tough decisions when the time comes and know that they can recover, and it often comes with experience but can also be developed over time by implementing habits and routines that contribute to one's growth.

1. Stepping out of comfort zones

Leaders often struggle with imposter syndrome, a feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt that can hold them back. In order to overcome these doubts, leaders need to establish boundaries to protect themselves from taking on too much or questioning their capabilities. It is equally important to practice stepping out of their comfort zone by taking on non-mission critical projects and avoid perfectionism by learning to delegate and ask for help.

2. Avoiding comparison with others

To lead confidently, it is essential for leaders to release the desire to be all-knowing and commit themselves to foster the growth and development of their team. Confidence is developed through continuous skill building as it requires emotional intelligence and interpersonal awareness. Leaders who are confident in their ability to impact the future of their organisation develop a sense of urgency, resilience, and consistency in their approach to leadership. They create a safe space for others to bring ideas forward and foster an engaging environment that gives employees the opportunity to learn and grow.

3. Building relationships

Great leaders have a strong support system. One way to build self-confidence as a leader is by dedicating time to spend with other successful leaders, as they can benefit from the wisdom, insight and experience of other leaders, who can share their experience and reflections on their lessons learned. Because of this, other leaders can serve as mentors to gain new insights on how one can improve their leadership skills. They had common challenges, frustrations, and experiences that highlight one is not alone in their leadership journey.

4. Work on self-awareness

To change any habit or improve in any area, having self-awareness is key. Self-awareness is the act of being conscious of your desires, ambitions, feelings and motives. As a leader, building high levels of awareness allows you to accept your shortcomings so you can change them and feel more confident in your abilities moving forward. Leaders can cultivate self-awareness by asking for feedback from their team, mentors and employees, and getting well-rounded ideas of how they can improve. Additionally, they can improve their self-awareness by monitoring self-talk and recognising what words they are using when they have an internal monologue, as largely negative self-talk can translate into lower confidence levels.

Leaders with high levels of self-confidence often believe that they can overcome difficulties and achieve success. They also tend to be adaptable, resilient, and optimistic. Leaders with high levels of self-confidence are also less likely to shy away from tough decisions or mistakes, meaning they can focus on long-term goals rather than short-term losses. At Acumen, we pride ourselves in offering training and development that gives managers practical tools to help solve real-life challenges. We offer an extensive menu of courses, workshops, and coaching programmes, ranging from communication skills to executive leadership development. In most cases, we design the interventions specifically for each client, but we also offer a wide range of off-the-shelf programmes for those who prefer this approach. For more information about our programmes please contact Simon at


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