How to Lead with Confidence: A Guide for Business Owners
Lead with confidence.
If you’re a business owner—or an aspiring business owner—this is probably something you dream of doing every day.
Who doesn’t want the certainty that comes with confidence…
...the knowledge that it’ll all work out? That your path is right? That everything is under control?
Who doesn’t want to be the leader who instills a sense of security in their team?
The problem is, as a business owner, you have to:
- Handle tasks outside your strongest skill set.
- Be ready to confront unexpected obstacles.
- Guide your team through projects that are new to all of you.
- Take personal responsibility for every mistake.
- Adjust to constantly changing customer expectations.
In short, entrepreneurship means facing your own limited skills and knowledge constantly. Failure is not only a given; you have to expect to fail in plain view of the people you lead.
How are you supposed to feel confident when that’s what you’re up against? These business owners who alway carry themselves like they’re in control… what’s their secret?
Well, it begins by redefining “confidence”...
...and redefining yourself.
Realize That What You Have is NOT Who You Are
There’s this idea that leading with confidence means leading with certainty. We think a “confident” leader is one who knows they’re right. They know their ideas will succeed.
And where do we assume they get the evidence to back up that confidence?
We assume it comes from the life they’ve built for themselves. “He has a Porsche and a vacation home,” we think. “I’d be confident, too, if I had what it takes to earn those things.”
Or we look at their accomplishments. “She’s won awards and published a book on managing teams. She obviously has a reason to be confident.”
Then we look at ourselves. We look at our own cars and homes. We measure the weight of our accomplishments. And we use these details to determine whether we have any right to be confident.
We also hold tight to whatever we do best. I see this a lot with business owners who come from a trade background. An entrepreneur may be new to business, but he has a long history of being a great roofer. So what do you think happens?
He spends as much time as he can roofing, because that’s where he feels most confident. It’s his safe zone. He avoids the things that are less familiar—the things he needs to do to grow his business, like networking and improving his marketing strategy.
You see the problem?
The first fix here is to separate your belongings, your accolades, and your skill set from your sense of worthiness. You are not what you own, nor are you the rewards you have racked up.
Believe it or not, it actually helps to remind yourself of this every night. Note whatever it is you connect your sense of self worth to. Then say out loud, “I am not my car. I am not my bank account.”
Repeat each night before bed until you really understand this in the core of your being.
Root Your Self-Worth in Your Ability to Grow
The key to leading with confidence is to value your own capacity for growth.
This is the one part of yourself you know will never change.
Unforeseen circumstances can leave you without an impressive car or force you to downgrade your house. Even at the top of your game, you’ll always be able to point to a colleague who has accomplished more than you.
But your ability to learn, adapt, and grow? That’s part of you forever.
And it is the defining feature of every great entrepreneur.
This is what we don’t talk about enough when we talk about leading with confidence. A truly confident leader is not the person with all the answers.
They’re the person who’s humble, curious, and adaptable. Great leaders demonstrate the process of turning today’s failure into tomorrow’s success… turning a disaster into a Fresh Start.
Of course, really feeling this takes time, effort, and repetition. To get there, you have to actively pursue growth opportunities. Willingly step into situations where you’re not comfortable. Dare yourself to try things that intimidate you. And above all, notice when you grow.
Notice what happens in your life and business because you have grown.
When you see that, you’ll feel confidence blossom.
Embrace Input from Your Team
Ready to really seal your reputation as a confident leader?
Invite input from your team. Create a company culture where your employees feel safe bringing you a difference of opinion. And when they do, entertain the possibility that you might be wrong.
This is the mark of a business owner who truly knows his or her own worth. They have nothing to prove. They have every desire to grow, even when they’re already thriving. And they’re confident enough to surround themselves with people who sometimes know better.
The greatest threat to our confidence as business owners is the myth that confidence and certainty are the same. They’re not.
Be willing to be wrong. Be eager to be better. And become the leader you were meant to be.
Further Resources on This Topic
Free Video Course: Personal Development for Business Success