Self-confidence can be hard to come by. It’s much easier to criticise yourself - and skip over positive thoughts about a job well done.
But listening to a negative internal monologue isn’t just bad for you, it’s also bad for your business. Confidence in your company starts with confidence in the leader of your company; without it, both of you will waver.
When you take away a healthy sense of self-assurance, you’re minimising your business’ ability to grow, and the positive impact you can have on employees and customers. We've broken down five business benefits of practicing self-confidence to help you believe in yourself a little bit more:
As global consultant John Baldoni summarises, “It’s a leader’s job to set direction and determine outcomes; that only happens when leaders feel confident in themselves.” Although a lot of business owners understand their weaknesses, they don’t consider their strengths and sources of accomplishments.
A failure to acknowledge these positive attributes results in self-doubt and questioning. Every day, leaders are bombarded with thousands of decisions on everything from the appearance of a business card to the five-year goals of a company. If you waver and question yourself in each moment, there’s no way to manage each choice with a clear mind. Instead, you’re bogged down by negativity, and nothing seems right.
But as a business owner, you need to set the direction of the company. Rather than try to shut down overly critical thoughts during important moments, go neutral. Take a deep breath, witness false thoughts, and practice self-compassion. Ironically, beating yourself up for having negative thoughts will only make it worse.
If you waver and question yourself in each moment, there’s no way to manage each choice with a clear mind.
As a leader, you need to believe in yourself to determine the direction and ideal outcomes for the company on a moment-to-moment basis - that starts from a place of acceptance and empathy.
Playing to your strengths
Think about times that you have excelled as a leader. Maybe there was an expected conflict with a customer that you handled with grace or you did a great job boosting sales last month. By recognising your outstanding qualities as a leader, you can hire team members that complement your natural skills.
For example, if you’re an awesome manager, hire someone to focus on strategy and number-crunching. If you love business development, stick to sales and ask other people to fill in around you. As the boss, you have the power to select a team that enables you to make your highest contribution to the business and drop tasks that don’t play to your strengths.
Andy Stephenson, the CEO of Weekend Box, took this approach when he hired three workers for the first time. By assessing his own skills and speaking to his new employees, Stephenson successfully identified the best tasks to delegate. He gave team members extra responsibility without sacrificing his own contributions to the company.
When you believe in yourself, you believe in your company - and your employees believe in you too. In other words, self-confidence inspires employees to put faith in the mission as a business and you as its leader. Without that support, it’s impossible to succeed in the long-term.
Sir Terry Leahy, the former CEO of Tesco, agrees. He credits mutual confidence with the ability to move forward as a united front: “Everyone has the ability to step forward and be a leader in a certain situation, but to do that they have to believe in the organisation and know that if they do step forward they will be supported.”
Transparency about your mission to build self-confidence will help unite the team around your shared goals
Do you believe in your company? And when you make decisions, does your staff trust you? If not, listen to concerns and assess your own level of self-doubt. Ask staff members if they would benefit from a more confident leader, and if so, how you can help them believe in you. Transparency about your mission to build self-confidence will help unite the team around your shared goals.
When leaders lack confidence in themselves, they’re unwilling to take risks. Instead, they hear the voice in their head that says, “This is a great idea!” and ignore it out of fear.
As bestselling author Seth Godin says, when doubt creeps in, “start shipping.” If you’re hung up on a product or service not being perfect, put it out there anyway. By stepping into your vulnerability and taking action, you actually boost self-confidence. When you’ve done it once, it’s easier to do the next time.
Taking risks is essential to any business - with more self-confidence, you’ll be comfortable supporting new initiatives that are essential to the company’s growth.
Serving as a role model
If there’s one overriding reason to build self-confidence, it’s so you can model it for employees. Although it’s vital to affirm and praise team members, building up your own self-esteem is just as important.
As academic Sydney Finkelstein points out, “It’s not particularly authentic to say I’m going to be a role model on Thursday from 4 to 5pm - people are watching all the time.” Your relationship to yourself is an example for staff members. Exhibiting confidence in yourself shows them that a self-assured employee is welcome in the work environment.
Confidence is infectious, so also actively encourage workers to practice self-affirmation, recognise a job well-done, and hold healthy boundaries with others. This attitude also increases motivation, meaning that you’re more inspired as a boss and your team members feel engaged every day.
Encourage workers to practice self-affirmation, recognise a job well-done, and hold healthy boundaries with others.
These five business benefits of boosting your self-confidence — clear decision-making, playing to your strengths, garnering support, healthy risk-taking, and serving as a role model — all set a positive foundation for your company. Do you have any other benefits to add to the list? These aren’t the only ones.