Managing is a tough job. Both your superiors and subordinates have huge expectations of you. It can sometimes feel like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place and many often suffer a lack of self-confidence. Here is how managers can become more confident.
Confidence is one of those attractive qualities in any human being that draws people to them like bees to pollen. When it comes to management, some managers seem to effortlessly ooze confidence and their employees adore them while others always manage to come across as annoying know-it-alls every time they interact with their teams. What can you do as a manager to become more confident?
Give yourself realistic expectations
Learn to be kind to yourself. Are you putting unrealistic expectations on yourself? Probably, most of us do. Of course you want to give your best. At the same time you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. By all means set the bar high and challenge yourself but don’t lose sight of reality.
Adjust your own expectations, whether that means changing your timetable for accomplishments, asking for help or giving yourself room to make mistakes. Yes, you will make mistakes and that’s okay, great actually. Remember if you never make mistakes, you never learn and grow.
Remember that you are a manager on merit
Do you think those who appointed you into your role as a manager had no other choice?
Keep in mind that they appointed you on merit because of all the choices they had, they believed that you were the best person for the job with the most potential. Your position of leadership is not an accident. Accept that you have what it takes to be there, that others believe in you. Go ahead, prove them right.
Learn your strengths and weaknesses
Develop realistic self-awareness. Knowing your leadership strengths will give you confidence, and facing up to your development needs will help you determine what you need to focus on to get better.
Getting feedback and acting on it will help you develop this much-needed realistic self-awareness. Furthermore, leaders who ask for feedback are seen as more confident than those who don’t.
Fake it ‘til you make it
Recognise that you are not the only person, let alone manager, who is afraid and unsure. We all are.
The biggest secret people who look confident have is that they are able to learn to “fake it ‘til you make it” by appearing confident even if they are feeling terrified inside. So even if the butterflies in your stomach are fluttering wildly, take a deep breath, project confidence, make a decision and take action.
First impressions are everything so pay attention to your physical appearance.
A new pair of glasses, new hairstyle, a new suit or a new pair of shoes can make you feel and look more confident. Keep your posture firm and upright, make eye contact, smile and use a firm grip when you shake hands.
Ask others for help
Confident leaders know what they know and what they don’t know and are not afraid to ask for help.
They draw on the talents of others without feeling threatened. Leaders who ask for help are seen as more confident than those who don’t and even inspire confidence in the people they ask for help.
Pick a role model
Choose a leader you admire and then study their character and how they go about doing their thing.
What qualities does this person possess? Which of those qualities do you already have, and which do you need to build up? What could you do to develop those qualities in yourself? You could become more confident just by looking at the qualities you already share with this person.
Build your network
Network with other managers. Pick someone who would be a powerfully useful contact for you.
How can you meet this person? Is there a mutual contact who can introduce you? Before meeting, do your homework on your new contact. Look for ways you can help your contact achieve their goals. Having a network or support group of peers is a healthy way to share common, real-world challenges. It will let you know that you are not the only one who feels how you do.
Step outside your comfort zone
Try something outside the scope of what you’ve already done. It could be as simple as making a pitch in a meeting or approaching a prominent person at a business function.
If you feel uneasy, remember that’s just a natural result of stretching your own boundaries. Discomfort is growth pains.
Celebrate good times, come on!
Chances are, if you took a few minutes to write down everything you’ve accomplished in the past week, you would be quite impressed with yourself. So do it.
Modesty has no place in business. Become more confident by giving yourself the credit you deserve. How have you grown in the last six months? And how have you positively changed the lives of other people? Those accomplishments deserve be celebrated. So celebrate!
Respect is everything
Some managers think abrasiveness is leadership and rely upon a command and control style of management, meeting employee questions with some version of, “Because I’m the boss and I said so.”
However this attitude doesn’t instill respect and, in fact, encourages employees to only do what is asked, nothing more. Instead of the “because I’m the boss” approach, confident managers take the time to explain situations. They also trust their teams to do their tasks instead of micromanaging them.
Create opportunities for improvement
Confident managers allow employees to accomplish tasks, make decisions and assume responsibility.
When something goes wrong, or is simply heading in the wrong direction, they step up and give guidance, focusing on results and clear goals to grow their employees’ skills. And when they hit a milestone or do something awesome, they let them—and everyone else—know. Getting into the habit of looking for and recognising the wins of others is one of the easiest ways to become more confident.
The reality is that confidence is basically a positive state of mind and so with the right efforts, any manager can become more confident.
There will be times when your confidence is high and other times when it will be low. When in the dip, make sure you tap into what made you successful in the past.