Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who is looking to start a business soon. He works in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) field and will likely have 4-5 employees helping him. We chatted about the company’s potential, his leadership, and bad approaches to leadership. One of the key items that came up was confidence.
I made a suggestion that some key pieces need to be in place for a business to be successful. Especially, for small businesses where the owner is the face of the business. I suggested Connections, Competence, Context, and Confidence are vital to the success of a small business.
For the sake of this post, we will focus on Confidence only.
Data About Confidence
Every week, I walk people through the results of their DISC & Motivators assessment. There’s a certain data point that reveals “inside” information about people’s self-confidence. The data point is related to what’s called the individualistic driver. It can be defined as:
One’s need to be seen as autonomous, unique, independent, and to stand apart from the crowd. Socially independent. (Steven Sisler)
The interesting thing about this data point is the higher the intensity of this trait, the more likely the individual will have self-confidence concerns. Whenever I meet with someone that has a high intensity in this driver, we talk about the data point and with only one exception (1 in 20) I’ve been told they do have some confidence struggles.
This trait is about external recognition and standing out, being unique. In these cases, external validation helps raise confidence. But when it’s missing, the individuals have a harder time staying confident.
What’s important to realize here is I work with business owners/leaders and I work with their direct reports. The position doesn’t matter. Some of the managers have more of a confidence issue than their employees do. This got me thinking. What can we do about this?
The Confidence Pattern
After realizing position and tenure don’t have anything to do with it, I wanted to know what could drive improvement in confidence.
What I noticed was a pattern in my most confident clients.
It’s a simple pattern that feeds itself. As any of these areas mature, other areas will mature as well (unfortunately, the opposite is true as well). Armed with this information, we can now build habits, develop ourselves, and learn to improve self-confidence.
Self-Assessment Leads To Development
If you’re someone who wants to grow in this area of leadership, the more self-assessment you do the more self-aware you’ll become. This turns into a better understanding of your leadership style. Which, in turn, moves you to grow as a person and leader. As this happens, your confidence inevitably increases. What’s amazing is an improvement in any one area develops all the other areas.
The synergistic nature of development is very exciting to me and the people I work with. While this isn’t a perfect picture of how you can grow your leadership, it’s a great way to visualize your development. Other potential factors for confidence could include people, books, and experiences. But this is primarily looking at internal patterns not external.
Use Self-Assessment To Grow
How confident are you? Confidence is defined as a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. I’d say it this way, you believe what you have to offer to be of value to the people you are with and the situation you are in.
The value could be in ideas, physical work, conversation, or just listening but you believe your abilities and qualities matter in the scenario. Low self-confidence would mean you don’t see and/or appreciate your own abilities and qualities. But this can easily be worked on.
From leadership 360s to emotional intelligence assessments to leadership coaching, there are many avenues to help people self-assess. But it is of little value if you don’t know where you start in any of these areas. Understanding where you are in your confidence, growth, leadership, and self-awareness is key to purposeful growth.
“My Confidence List”
As a leader, we need to be aware of our skills, abilities, and limitations. I want you to try a simple exercise to remind yourself of these. Get out a piece of paper and write at the top, “My Confidence List”. Then write down 3 things you are really good at doing at work. Three at home. Three with friends. And three random things.
Next, write down 3 things you find yourself doing but aren’t good at AND you can give yourself permission to stop doing.
That’s it, you now know for a fact that you are really good at the 12 things on the list and don’t have to worry anymore about the 3 things you aren’t good at. That is very freeing! Come back to this list and add to it from time to time. Great leaders, confident leaders are aware of where they excel and where they are limited.
A good idea would be to perform this simple exercise 1-2 times per month to remind you of the areas you need to eliminate and the skills and abilities you should lean into.
This exercise allows you to take a more objective look at the things you are good at and begin to build on these. It’s all about knowing ourselves and being honest about the stories we tell ourselves when it comes to self-assessment and development.
Tell Yourself The Truth
The stories we tell ourselves can boost our confidence or destroy our confidence. The funny thing I’ve learned working with my clients is the more honest and objective people are about their strengths and limitations, the more confident and empowered they feel.
Taking an objective view of yourself ultimately eliminates the false narratives and overblown stories we tell ourselves about our lack of ability as leaders. When these are exposed (even if there is some truth), the experience is always liberating for my clients. And it has been for me as well.
If you want to dive deeper into this concept, I have several tools you can use for self-assessment. All of which gives you an objective way to self-assess.
The assessments below are free for you to take. Also, if you are interested in getting a free personal interpretation of the results, I ask for 15-minutes of your time to chat with you about your report.
Take one or take all, self-assessment is your first step to a boost in confidence!