How confident are you? How do you come across to others? Whether you’re a new CEO, recently promoted, experiencing a change or setback in your professional career, chances are the first and most painful casualty is your confidence.
Confidence is one of the key components of Emotional Intelligence. How we feel is often linked to how we’re perceived. We all know it’s easier to get hired, promoted and recommended when we appear, and most importantly, feel confident. Whether you’re the leader of a team of 4 or 1000, the people who depend on you will most likely be inspired if you look, sound and exude confidence. This sounds simple but once confidence is eroded, what can you do to get it back or build it up once it’s taken a direct hit?
Consider my client, Robert, who recently left a senior-level position in product development and sales. He had been unhappy for some time and felt like he should be ready for the next level but his CEO continuously chipped away at his confidence by referring to him as a ‘jack of all trades’. Robert saw this and other feedback as a put down and it felt very demotivating.
Once we started working together, Robert started to challenge that assumption about himself. He quickly started to give himself credit for all his considerable talents and accomplishments. This translated being a ‘jack of all trades’ into an expert in several critical disciplines.
When he got an opportunity to move into a COO position at a fast growing company, he applied for and got the job. At the new company he took on new challenges with the confidence that he could put his considerable skills to good use.
Robert recognized that his leadership skills hinged on improving his confidence. To get out of his comfort zone and build the confidence to move forward, Robert did the following:
- Increased his self-awareness
- Challenged his own assumptions about himself
- Adjusted his mindset about his ability and experience
- Took some risks
Where does strong or weak confidence come from? Is it something we are born with? Does confidence take a hit because of a professional setback? How is confidence affected because someone of influence in your life says ‘you’re not quite good enough’?
The good news is confidence can be developed and strengthened at any point in life.
It can be difficult to take that first step towards building/re-building confidence. Questions like “where do I start? how do I get unstuck?” may resonate with you. You may have employees facing challenges in areas of professional development and wonder “how do I help them? what resources are available to me?” – an experienced leadership coach could be the answer you are seeking.