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The Secret To Confident Leadership

Written by: Sally Higoe, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Have you ever noticed how some people tend to cause pin-drop silence when entering a room? These people seem to “own the room” even without having to say anything; everyone senses that this is a leader. In a leadership role, you want to exhume that type of confidence in people around you and earn their respect. But let us face it. You will not always feel confident. Some days you are at the top of the world; others, you hide behind curtains.

confident woman in yellow blazer smiling at camera

Taking on the leadership position in any job appears to be the simplest part of the job. Well, it is not. Every leader needs to appear confident and communicative, all without having to stamp their authority on their subjects.

It is an understatement to say that most leaders’ experiences can be bruising. It can be anything, from responses of disgruntled staff, unruly subjects, or complicated conflicts to solve, all of which lead to a downward mental spiral and consequently to a blow in confidence.

Leadership success correlates much more closely to high confidence than competence.

The question is, how do you conjure up confidence?

A concrete place to start, especially when you’ve just gotten into a leadership role, is by exercising the “imposter syndrome.” Although it is not the best name for something relating to a leader, it is an effective measure. Walk and talk with confidence until you feel confident. Start by emulating someone you think oozes confidence. Act like you deserve to be in that role, and own it. Unless you are terrible at faking, your actions and body language will sell you out as a confident leader. You will eventually start believing in yourself and become it.

Be More Self-Aware

While at it, become more aware of your body language.

For example, when your body releases stress hormones, they lower your mood and sour interactions with those around you. Even when emotions are slightly slumped or you feel at ease, your body sends an external message of a knock in confidence. By understanding your body language, you can balance out your internal chemistry with how it affects your confidence.

Confidence does not only come from wanting to be it. Part of it is from the satisfaction of getting things done. Confidence is built on accomplishment. The secret is to make priority lists and manage time properly.

You can do that in these ways.

  • Give your team the guidance they need.

  • Set achievable targets.

  • Avoid procrastination.

  • Follow a system.

  • Own your responsibilities.

  • Focus on your strengths when executing plans.

  • Deal with one activity at a time.

Your to-do list will never be blank. But if you ever find yourself wishing for more hours in a day, that’s a good sign that you got lost in your planning... time to readjust. Better planning reflects on the quality of the execution, and that will consequently build on your confidence.

Just like a yawn, confidence is infectious. This is a scientific fact enabled by mirror neurons in the brain. According to neuroscientist Margaret Steward, the brain likens self-efficacy to self-confidence. Confidence does affect not only your behaviour, but also that of the people around you. The behaviour of the people around you can also bring doubt.

Surround yourself with confident people. Your cheerleaders are a positive influence but sometimes also unhealthy, as they support your poor and good decisions. People with confident personalities can be people you trust, fellow leaders, or mentors. Limit relations with people who bring down your confidence but learn to discern the difference between healthy critics and negative people.

However, your confidence will not always be at a hundred, even as a great leader. Learn how to balance out your dull days with some laughter and playfulness. In challenging situations, this helps put things into perspective.

With a clean and healthy perspective, you can diffuse things easily, develop creative and collaborative solutions, and keep difficult situations under control. This fuels positive relationships with your team as they feed off the positive energy, impacting your confidence.

A leader’s self-confidence will mostly impact their instincts, communication abilities, and motivation before they do others.

Remember, your team relies on your confidence to take on risks and carve a path for your staff to follow.

I work with clients to help them become Emotionally Fit. In a nutshell, this helps leaders to deal better with uncertainty, allowing them to be more confident and clear in both themselves and the direction they’ll take. If this is something that you’d like to know more about, please email me and we’ll make time to chat.

Follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook, and visit my website for more info!


Sally Higoe, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Sally is uniquely world-experienced in building resilience, emotional fitness, and quality sustainable practices in leadership. Her experience across multiple countries leading high-performing teams in high-pressure outlying remote environments has amplified her ability to know what it takes to connect a conscious leader to their team, with outstanding results.

Having spent decades on diverse projects in every climate imaginable, Sally discovered the critical aspects of authentic leadership and team alignment. She has now blended research-based, proven methodology with her pragmatic approach and ability to 'be herself' to create the transformative Align & Shine program. There, she guides formerly flustered, confused, and internally insecure leaders, to tap into their true classic selves, without the need to conform to outside pressures, helping them become bold, present, courageous, and energized leaders who genuinely connect with their team AND their business.

Sally is co-author of Resilience in Leadership, Pt 1 of the book series, leader of both community and international hardship projects, and accredited in scientifically proven Human Behavioural Profiling and Meta Dynamics ' thinking-based methodology, adding to her Practitioner of Coaching credentials.

Most importantly though, Sally, Founder of Team Resilience Method, is now on a mission to show striving leaders how to shine, gain clarity and create a ripple of positive change, from the inside out.



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