Confident Leadership requires mental toughness to ‘survive and thrive’. Whilst resilience is critical to work through the constant distractions and resistance, confidence is also a pre-requisite attribute for good leadership.
In this curated post Triple hockey Olympian and Adidas Senior Marketing Director, Kate Woods discusses the concept of your confidence being validated by others through the development of 360 degree trust and goodwill.
In a high-performing sports team, players trust each other, they trust the coaches, and they trust themselves. The players and team leaders are experts in their positions, but they all play the same game.
Having faith in your abilities is valuable, but it doesn’t put you in the game. The coach’s belief in you and your skills is what gets you in the starting line-up. What’s more, each player must show confidence in their teammates, be willing to pass the ball and let them take the shot.
Confidence, in both yourself and others is built during practice, not on game day.
Confidence is also about believing in their ability today but also about their potential tomorrow.
Similarly, whenever you start building a new business relationship, its rare for you to immediately trust your counterpart’s abilities to deliver, or for them to trust you in the same way.
The assumption of goodwill is an integral part of a healthy company culture, forming a solid basis for confident leadership. As soon as you become suspicious of your business partner or team member, it’s not only the dialogue and relationship that starts deteriorating – it’s the entire culture.
Culture is what drives the behaviour of employees and which you can affect by leading by example.
The way to build authentic confidence through leadership is by acting with integrity, setting high expectations, and being committed to learning and growing.
Kate Woods highlights 3 important ingredients for developing your team’s trust and goodwill in you and your leadership;
1) Values-based leadership starts with awareness
A confident leader acts with awareness, not only of what they know, but what they don’t know. By being true to yourself and your values you can act and lead with integrity.
Acting with integrity has two aspects: recognising your values and conducting business according to them. If you’ve chosen to be part of an organisation or a team, it means you’ve accepted those shared values as part of your identity, and are ready to stand up to what you believe is right for the business.
2) Leaders are geared for lifelong learning
Learning can sometimes be humbling, which makes both insecure and arrogant leaders averse to it. Confident leaders are wired to learn and grow.
There will be times you’ll struggle with saying the words, “I don’t know” out loud. You might assume it’ll affect your status or reputation when, in fact, the opposite is true. Accepting you don’t know the answer is a sign of confidence – and a visible testament to your leadership skills. Knowing and admitting the limits of your knowledge shows you’re open to learning.
But note this: Replying, “I don’t know” to everything is not the goal. Choosing to find the answer is a key aspect of a growth mindset, a vital leadership quality.
3) Leaders set high expectations for themselves and others
As a team leader, your focus should be on developing your people. But when expectations aren’t met, you also need to have tough conversations and give constructive feedback.
One facet of confident leadership is setting high expectations for your team and recognising when targets are reached. When they’re not being met, the gaps need to be addressed in a constructive, collaborative way.
Do you automatically trust a new colleague? How do you build confidence within your team?
Ms Woods’ Confident Leadership Checklist:
- A high-performing team is made up of players who trust each other, themselves, and the team leads. This 360-degree confidence takes both practice and goodwill, the latter being fundamental to a healthy company culture. Culture, after all, drives the behavior of employees.
- Act and lead with integrity by being true to yourself and your values
- Learning lasts a lifetime. Remember: Accepting you don’t know the answer takes confidence.
- Set high expectations for yourself and the team. Recognise when targets are reached and when they’re not, and address the gaps.
View full article from Adidas’ Gameplan A online journal