Leading with confidence is a skill. There is an increased focus in the talent development arena, about emerging leaders; leadership training and effective leadership characteristics. I believe it is important to lead with confidence. Here is an article that apparently identifies different styles of leadership, however, I would immediately say that we all adapt to different situations and environments and therefore these styles are preferences we can demonstrate. But any good leader will adapt their style accordingly.
I am always concerned by subtle messages that only certain people could be leaders: that some people are born leaders, or only certain people display leadership traits. Of course personality comes into this, but also confidence and a desire to be leaders – because let’s face it, not everyone wishes to be a leader.
But most of us are leading in some capacity. It might not be a standard leading a team or project, but many people arrange a night out, lead a holiday trip, organise a family gathering, or be the captain of a music group or sports team?
Confidence helps and empowers individuals to be leaders and to develop their skill set. Here are some top tips to empower you to lead with confidence.
- Embrace the role; avoid apologising or belittling the fact you are leading. Others are looking to you for confidence.
- Prepare: if this is not your area of expertise, prepare questions for your team members to answer for more information. Be confident enough to probe until you have enough information.
- Listen: in order to lead, you need to get enough information from other people to make decisions. Also listen for what is NOT being said, and be prepared to ask more questions.
- Respect your team; value the contribution they are making; thank them; acknowledge their hard work and commitment to any project.
- Trust: as a leader, you want to build up trust with your team: for them to trust you, but for you to trust them. Consider how you are going to build up that trust with the words you use, how you treat the people in your team. Also consider how you are speaking and communicating with them. Do you listen? Do you have eye contact with them when you are speaking to them? Do you have open body language or closed? These can call impact the level of trust you are developing.
- Have an opinion: you’re a leader right! So it is important to have an opinion. And sometimes this will be contrary to the opinion of others. But remember that you could have a different perspective as a leader than your team. Have the confidence to embrace and express this.
- Clear concise communication: people need to know the direction of a project or job. Faffing round or using jargon that not everyone understands undermines the confidence of your team. Wasting time or not being concise results in creating a culture that isn’t focused. Remember, you are a role model and if you are clear, focused and concise with your communication, this will be taken as the culture for your team.
- Presence: this doesn’t have to be noisy presence, but one where you are noticed even when you are listening. Consider your body language; is it open? are you using space around you? Are you speaking with everyone rather than one or two people?