5 ways for leaders to increase confidence and build resilience

We lead in a complex and uncertain world—and with uncertainty comes challenges that require leaders to be resilient. Our ability to overcome and see past challenges helps our teams do the same. One way we can build our resilience is to increase our confidence. Here are five ways to strengthen that crucial trait.

1. Survey past successes

The best source for building your confidence is to survey your life for past successes. It doesn’t matter if these exist in a different area of your life. Review the times you have succeeded. Times you felt proud of your achievements. Making a list of those accomplishments is a good step. But we must be reminded of them, especially when times are tough. Put the list—your highlight reel—where you can see it regularly. Just reading the list will lift your confidence. After all, if you have succeeded in the past, you can (and will) succeed again.

2. Recognize your strengths

You will always be more confident when you accurately realize—and honor—where you excel. Make a list of those strengths, and again, review it regularly. If you don’t know or recognize your strengths, ask for feedback from those who know you well. Review the common elements of your past successes to look for clues. Think about the things that come easy to you and add those to the list. When you feel overwhelmed or discouraged, pull out the list to remind yourself of everything you do well. Think about how you can use those strengths in the face of adversity.

3. Build your competence

To build your confidence, learn more and gain additional skills. Read a book, take a class, get a coach or perform any other action that promotes your growth and development. Practice until you have mastered the new skills. With each skill you gain and piece of information you learn, you become more competent, and that, in turn, boosts your confidence. This is called the confidence/competence loop.

4. Make the mental transfer

Ask yourself, “If I have been successful before, is there any reason to think I can’t be successful in the future?” The answer is usually “No!” Negative self-talk erodes your confidence and can keep you from trying new things. When you notice negative thoughts and doubts creeping in, take control by redirecting them to focus on what you do well and plan how you will succeed. Doing this is a good habit to build and will help when you face a trying situation.


5. Take action

In the end, you must act. You can’t maintain your confidence without taking risks and challenging yourself. Through these actions, you create momentum that further reinforces your confidence—and shows your resilience.

Even if you weren’t born with a ton of confidence, take these steps when feeling weak, discouraged or out of your element to give yourself the boost needed to move forward and succeed.

As you use one or all of these approaches, you will build your confidence and resilience, and that sets the stage, through your example, for your team to build resilience, too. You can also use these ideas in your coaching with team members to help them develop these skills.