Being a leader can take a lot of courage and putting yourself out there. You’re not only expected to produce an extraordinary outcome, but take a diverse group of people along with you. On top of that, your team is also expected to perform and produce, and work closely and collaboratively.
Your team members rely on you for decision making, taking the right steps, and, ultimately, leading them to success. However, if they have a moment of doubt about your abilities, or sense you’re unsure, you’ll lose their respect, and quite possibly their desire to put in the required effort.
You’re already a leader, though, so it isn’t much of a step from there to command respect and appear confident. Here are the top ten tips for being a confident leader.
1. It’s not personal. If something goes wrong, or one of the team is frustrated or disgruntled, it’s not about you. As a leader, you’ll be the sounding board for your team, and at times this can get a little uncomfortable. It may even sound personal, however it rarely, if ever, is.
2. There are no favourites. If you have a truly diverse team, you’re likely to experience conflicts and clashes. It’s important to hear out both sides equally, and feedback the concerns without emotion, and without favouritism. Even if you agree vehemently with one member, being neutral is essential.
3. Make decisions. Confident leaders are those who can think quickly under pressure, and call the shots when required. It is not so much the decision you make, but the indecisiveness that causes you to look unsure and shaky. Do something; don’t leave the team in limbo.
4. Acknowledge achievements. Even the little wins can have a big impact on the team, so it’s important to recognise these milestones. Just as importantly, acknowledge individuals for their contributions and efforts, as well as the team as a whole.
5. Credit where credit is due. There’s nothing worse than someone taking the credit for the hard work you’ve done. It’s a good way to lose all the respect and trust you may have had for them. As a leader, you’re likely to be the one acknowledged for the overall output or the success of the project. Average leaders accept the praise; great leaders give credit where the credit is due.
6. Responsibility and Accountability. Leaders will accept responsibility and be accountable for all that happens. If things go well, of course, they’ll distribute the credit. When things don’t go so well, a confident leader will work out what went wrong. Was it their communication, the decision they made, the system they set up that contributed to the issue? Then they go about fixing it.
7. Communicate honestly. This is where a confident, competent leader really comes into their own. They don’t try to appear as though everything is running smoothly, and will ask for input or ideas when needed. If one of the team isn’t performing, they support them while they discuss the reasons behind the lack of performance. Honest communication combined with genuine support will get your team out of almost any negative situation it encounters.
8. Respect. Leaders understand that this goes beyond valuing a person’s position or perspective, and involves their individual circumstances and needs. They aren’t frustrated by a person’s need to learn in a certain way, or their need to leave early to care for a family member. They’ll also ensure that the rest of the team adopts this same attitude towards all team members.
9. Trust their instincts. It’s this trait that allows a leader to make decisions quickly and efficiently. They not only have a highly developed sense of ‘gut feel’ but know it is essential that they listen to and follow it.
10. Don’t Lead to be Liked. Good leaders honestly don’t care if you like them or not. They’re there for the success of the project, not necessarily make new friends. Like the first point, none of this is personal, and they’re not doing this because they need more friends, or need more people to like them.
Confident leaders don’t need the approval of anyone. Confident leaders are about what they give, and how that comes across, not what they’re getting out of it.
Do you need help to be that leader? Remember, we all need a little help sometimes! Get in touch, join one of our programs or start some coaching. This is your time to lead!
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