Articles tagged with: leadership confidence

Good Leadership Advice – Just in time for Halloween

It’s almost Halloween.

Business can be scary. Even strong leaders have fears that get the best of them from time to time. Just for fun I thought I’d serve up some seasonal leadership advice.

1.  Quiet the voices.

Are you hearing voices? If so, that’s normal. They’ll haunt you, if you let them.

What if I made a bad decision?

Have I hired the right talent?

What if we can’t make the numbers?

Self-doubt will kill you.

Don’t let your self-doubt creep up on you. A lot of the issues that plague executives and business owners are generated in their own minds. They worry over events that have not happened. They anticipate the worst instead of the best-case scenario.

You may worry that you’re not doing enough, that you’re not moving fast enough, that you or your business is not successful enough.

Stop it.


  • Remind yourself of the success you’ve accomplished so far.
  • Keep your plan in front of you. (If you don’t have one, you’d better create one.)
  • Surround yourself with capable people who can help you move the business forward.

Recognize the voices that try to scare you. Dismiss them quickly.

2.  Get out of the shadows. Be visible.

Where are you showing up?

It’s easy to get busy, and keep your head down. But smart leaders stay in front of people–not to make themselves look good, but to keep a pulse on what’s going on in other parts of the organization or in their community.

  • Get involved in something you care about–whether it’s serving on an internal committee or outside board.
  • Speak wherever you can. You’ll build your public speaking skills–one of the best leadership skills to develop.
  • Attract (positive) media attention. You’ll build your credibility and reputation.

Increasing your visibility will help you expand your business more easily.

3.  Remove the mask. Be yourself.

The best leaders know themselves well and leverage their strengths and uniqueness.

  • Build your self-awareness by seeking feedback or taking assessments.
  • Speak the truth about your situation so you can get to the heart of problems more quickly.
  • Resist perfection. Embrace vulnerability. It helps you become more “real” to others. You’ll build stronger professional relationships. No one’s perfect.

You’ll feel some relief when you take pressure off of yourself to be someone you’re not.

4. Cast your spell. Strengthen your influence.

What do you want to happen?

Whether you’re trying to overcome a difficult problem or simply get to the best outcome, know that you can influence the situation.

  • Believe that you can influence. Too many leaders sell themselves short.
  • Start small. Don’t try to transform a person or situation at work in a day. Work on small improvements over time.
  • Prepare your case. Think through all aspects of the situation.
  • Engage other people in problem solving. Don’t use brute force.

As you continue your leadership journey, you’ll inevitably find yourself wandering in the dark at times. You’ll experience surprises that make you shiver.

To quote French writer, Andre Gile, “There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.

Stay on your path. Light the way for others. There will be treats waiting for you.

PS: Don’t trick or treat alone as you build your business. If you need my support, let me know. 

Is your insecurity showing?

“I thought I was ready, but had no idea what I was getting myself into.
What if I’m not really cut out for this?”

CompassNo matter how much experience you’ve had, it’s easy to doubt yourself and wonder if you’re “good enough” to get to the next level.

In working with many leaders over the years, I see their thought process as they contemplate ways to expand their impact and advance their careers.

Some are frustrated. They’re not moving fast enough into roles they think they deserve. Perhaps they have leadership blind spots.

(If you missed my Special Report on Overcoming Leadership Blind Spots, you can download a free copy here or below.)

They view their situation as something beyond their control.

“You have to know people at the top to get anywhere in this company.”
“I’ll just have to wait for my turn. I don’t want to rock the boat.”
“Nobody knows the real work I do.”

The reality is that, in many cases, you can be your own worst enemy. You might be sabotaging yourself with secret thoughts that threaten your confidence.

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

“I don’t have the experience they expect to even be considered for the position.”
“I never finished my degree.”
“I don’t have a mentor or advocate.”

Self-confidence is one of the most important leadership attributes you can have. Without it, you risk jeopardizing your performance, and in some cases, ruining your own career.

Insecurity manifests itself in a variety of ways. Some people show up as fearful or anxious. They work in the shadows and draw little attention to themselves.

maskOther people may appear overly confident or egotistical.

But deep down there are serious insecurities they’re attempting to mask.

Here are four ways to build self-confidence in your leadership role:

1.  Note your strengths and best qualities.

If you need reminding, talk to family members or friends who are closest to you. By focusing on what you have instead of what you (think you) lack, you’ll create an image of yourself that is strong and capable.

Weaknesses or deficiencies will become less important. Bring whatever you have now to the table. Don’t worry about the rest.

2.  Experiment.

If you’ve been afraid to try something new or tackle a difficult project, consider it an “experiment.” You’ll take pressure off yourself to achieve perfection.

Instead view the situation as a learning opportunity. Be prepared to observe what is happening as you go through the experience. Anticipate setbacks.

Be willing to move yourself or your project in a different direction if needed. If it doesn’t work, it’s just an experiment. Keep trying.

3.  Help someone else.

Ultimately leadership is about service. This is a fundamental aspect of leadership that executives often miss. Instead they are overly concerned about how they are perceived. If they care more about their own image, they lose sight of what matters most–other people.

Keep your focus on those you serve–your team, your internal or external customers. Ask:

“What do they need now?”
“How can I be of help?”
“What action can I take today to make a bigger difference–to them?”

Shift the focus from yourself to others.

4.  Face your fear.

If there is one thing that you know is in your way, face it head on!

In my case, the one thing that was holding me back in my career and leadership role was my fear of public speaking. So many years ago I decided to begin working on that skill. I participated in Toastmasters International and other development programs for years to practice and build my confidence. Sometimes it was painful.

Confidence comes through practice and by surrounding yourself with other people who want to see you grow.

Now I speak professionally as part of my work.

Everything flows from your confidence as a leader. We all have insecurities. It’s natural for your confidence to waiver over time, especially as you grow and take on new challenges.

You are stronger and more capable than you realize. Your potential is much greater than you can imagine.

Step boldly into the new iteration of who you are becoming. You’ll be even better as a leader.

It’s good for yourself and those you serve.


In case you missed it…

print newsGet a copy of my latest print newsletter. It’s about how to overcome leadership blind spots.

Download a copy HERE.  

 (Feel free to share it with a friend or colleague who may benefit.)


You’ll gain insights to help you see what you might be missing.



 “We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong.

The amount of work is the same.”

~Carlos Castaneda

Three Tips to Build Confidence as a Leader

How would you like to lead a critical meeting, have a difficult conversation or give a talk with greater ease?

Where are YOU on the confidence scale?

One of my clients was told she had to fill in at the last minute for her boss who was expected to make an important presentation to the executive board.

What would you do?

If you’re like many people, you might do any of the following:

  • Suddenly become “ill”
  • Immediately think about how inadequate you feel or unprepared you may be
  • Worry about how others might perceive you
  • Picture the worst case scenario

Wouldn’t it be great if you could rise to the occasion and welcome the opportunity?

Build Confidence — Here are three keys to boost your confidence level:

1. Visualize yourself succeeding.

While you can’t predict every aspect of a future experience, you can anticipate a positive outcome. Trust that you will do your best under difficult circumstances.

The goal is NOT perfection. It’s simply to achieve the desired outcome.

Anticipate any difficulties or objections so you can see yourself addressing them. Expect something out of the blue to challenge you — even if you can’t anticipate it specifically. When the incident happens, you’ll consider it part of the plan, as opposed to being rattled.

2. List the reasons you’ll succeed.

Make a mental list of any skills, qualities or past experiences that would lead you to believe you will handle the situation with confidence.

Note: If you’re having trouble making your list, contact a mentor, friend or coach who can provide positive feedback and reinforcement. Often the smallest amount of reinforcement can boost your confidence in a big way.

As one manager stated, “I’d forgotten that I was thrown into a similar difficult situation a couple of years ago, so I know I can handle this one.”

3. Practice.

Practice what you want to say — even if it’s simply an opening statement. Practicing will give you a greater sense of control. Don’t over-rehearse.

As you practice, you’ll be better prepared when reality hits. You’ll feel like you’ve mastered the situation before.

It’s easy to practice a speech, but it may be more challenging to practice having a one-on-one conversation that is sensitive or critical. Find someone with whom you can role-play. Know your key points.

Feeling uncomfortable in sensitive situations is normal for leaders at all levels. Trust you’ll say what needs to be said — and that you’ll respond appropriately.

Your Thoughts and Actions

How you choose to think determines how you act.

Taking action builds your confidence.

As a leader, you’ll experience many opportunities to build your confidence. Those opportunities often come in the form of fear or uneasiness.

Don’t let fear paralyze you. Keep moving.

Building your confidence helps you build your business.

What shakes your confidence?