By Art Rainer
Everyone wants to follow a confident leader. But many in leadership positions find themselves unable to provide this. They are under-confident leaders. For those who consider themselves under-confident, the obvious question that arises from this post is, “How do I move from under-confident to confident?” One of keys to this answer is to develop a more accurate view of leaders and their leadership.
To elaborate, I have provided six considerations that can help increase your confidence as a leader:
1. Know there is no such thing as a fearless leader
You are not alone. All leaders have fears. They all have doubts, even in their own ability to lead. But the greatest leaders push through those fears and doubts because they know dwelling on these things will get them, and everyone they lead, nowhere.
2. Start noticing other leaders’ failures
If you read a few biographies about great leaders or peruse some leadership articles, here is what you will uncover: All leaders are failures. They all make decisions that do not pan out as hoped. And so will you. Welcome to the club. It is a part of leadership. Stop allowing past failures to define you. Stop allowing the fear of future failure to paralyze you. Acknowledge them, learn from them, and move forward.
3. Understand that sometimes a decision just needs to be made
Many decisions are neither right nor wrong. There is a lack of clarity. But in these situations, it is the indecision that is most injurious to the organization. Great leaders will sometimes just make the best possible guess they can. They know that sometimes the most important decision a leader can make is to make a decision.
4. When you make a decision, go all in
Want to ensure a decision has a high likelihood of failure? Second-guess the decision. When you second-guess a decision, so will everyone else. And when everyone else second-guesses the decision, there is little motivation to see it through. Great results are often the product of the energy behind the decision, not the decision itself.
5. Be a constant learner
Great leaders never think that they have all the answers. There is always more to learn. Continue to hone your craft. Become increasingly knowledgeable about your work. Your confidence will increase when you know you are making decisions that align with best practices.
6. Concern yourself most with God’s assessment of you, not everyone else’s
If you are in a leadership position, accept that many will have an opinion about you. Sometimes they are accurate. Sometimes they are not. These opinions mean little compared to God’s assessment of you. However you lead, whatever decisions you make, concern yourself most with God’s assessment of you. He knows your mind and heart. And His assessment is never inaccurate.
Under-confident leaders unnecessarily impose limitations on their leadership. For some of these men and women, they are stymied by an unrealistic, idealistic view of leadership that is unattainable for any leader. For others, they are letting past failures prevent future progress. The good news for under-confident leaders is that they do not have to remain under-confident. A changed perspective and a decision to stop allowing the past define you can go a long way to increasing a leader’s confidence.
Art Rainer is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and cofounder of Rainer Publishing. He is the author of several books, Raising Dad and Simple Life.