Being a leader in business can be trying. From deadlines to human resource difficulties, leaders take a lot on, especially women. We tend to question ourselves and our confidence as leaders. But what if I told you that being a more confident leader is simple? What if I told you that taking your team or your business to the next level through strong leadership is already within your abilities?
Here are five, tried and true tricks to boost your confidence and the confidence of your team in your abilities.
1. Let Them Know You’re Listening
As a leader, one of your main responsibilities is to lead your team through projects. To be successful in leading, your team needs to know you not only hear them but are listening to what they’re saying. In conversations, use phrases like, “Let’s make sure I’m hearing you correctly.” This demonstrates active listening and expresses that you want to clearly understand them.
2. Become the Curator of the Conversation
In discussions or meetings where you need to take control, use a phrase such as, “This is what I am hearing.” This allows you to state the conversation back in a way that you control. You can stress certain aspects of the conversation or skip over aspects that you feel don’t add to the discussion. This works effectively for redirecting conversations that have gone off topic or turned negatively.
The most beneficial aspect to this trick (if used at the end of a meeting) is it makes you the “go to” person in people’s minds. You’ll be the wise woman in the room with the reputation for summing up a big idea into a simple, straightforward thought, which is an incredibly sought-after skill.
3. Connect But Don’t Drown
Leadership is a carefully balanced tightrope walk. On one side is a standoffish, hard-nosed boss and the other side is a buddy-buddy, no structure friend. In the middle is where we all long to be — the effective leader. But how do you find that perfect balance?
The trick is to connect, but not drown in the details of your reports’ lives. You should know their spouse or kids’ names, but not the name of their kid’s piano teacher or that their cousin is mooching off their aunt. Try to have more than a strictly business relationship but set boundaries.
If you find yourself in the situation where your reports are attempting to give you their entire life stories, use phrases like, “That is a tough situation. I hope it gets better. Maybe you should take your break now and come back to this task refreshed. I know I sometimes need to take a moment to refocus.”
4. Provide a Joint Vision
Each of us has different motivations. Some are motivated by praise; others are motivated by money or prestige, and still, others are motived by simply knowing they’re making a difference. But one thing is true — we’re all motivated by a joint vision or mission.
Whatever you’re motivated by, we all get excited when we know what we’re working towards. The person motivated by praise knows that their superiors will be happy if they’re successful. The person who is motivated by prestige knows they’ll receive “X” out of the success. And the person who is motivated by making a difference is pushed by the difference in the company and the customers’ lives that they can be a part of.
5. Be Committed to Your Reports’ Growth
One of the easiest areas to fail in as a leader is growing your existing reports, and that is the leading cause of turnover — lack of growth. By nature, we want to grow, stretch, and become more than what we are right now. If you’re not committed to your team’s growth, then you’re not committed to your company’s success.
Meeting with your reports and hearing directly from them about what growth they’re looking for is the number one way to ensure you’re a successful leader. Without that, you don’t know when your employee needs to be challenged, when they need margin, or when they need to work on something different altogether.
Being a leader is one of the hardest jobs, but it can also be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling careers you can have. Remember to listen to and connect with your employees, guide the conversation, provide a clear, joint vision, and stay committed to your employees’ growth. Your business depends on it.
About the Author
Kat Simpson has a background in corporate accounting and is a branding and business consultant for entrepreneurs and business owners.