All Articles Leadership Development One trait of the super successful (and how to get it) 

One trait of the super successful (and how to get it) 

Leaders who increase their confidence in communication and aren't afraid to learn from failure, will inspire loyalty, writes Joel Garfinkle.

5 min read



(Luis Alvarez/Getty Images)

Confidence is considered an essential trait for success as a leader. When a leader exudes self-assuredness, it creates a positive atmosphere that encourages team members to believe in themselves and their work, leading to higher levels of engagement and productivity. This self-assured demeanor not only fosters trust and credibility but also enables confident leaders to make well-informed decisions swiftly, especially in the face of uncertainty.

Here are five ways to increase your confidence and achieve the success you desire as a leader. 

1. Communicate with certainty

One of the key things people are looking for in their leaders is confident, concise communication. Confident people are sure of their message and pass that surety on to those around them, providing the team with a clear direction and belief in the way forward. Confidence in communication is critical to “selling” yourself as an effective leader.

How to get it: Confident communication will require you to work on both your self-regard and your speaking and writing styles. Before you begin any communication, remind yourself of the time and effort you have put toward building your knowledge and skill; you know what is going on! Focus on yourself and what your message needs to convey. Seize every speaking and writing opportunity to practice your confident approach.

2. Instigate more daring

Humans are creatures of habit; we prefer to stick to what we know and what feels safe, as a general rule. But safe and known are rarely the way to be truly successful in the world – great success involves taking some risks. Similar to trying something new on a personal level, it can be just as daunting to try something new as a business or a leader of a department. Those with confidence are less concerned with taking risks because they are confident enough in themselves to follow their skill and intuition. Lead your team beyond what they think is possible.

How to get it: Just try. Really. It can be scary to step outside the safety of what is unavoidable, but the rewards for those who dare are often great. If you want to foster the sort of risk-taking that will lead to success, then take some well-measured risks. Be sure to treat failures (both your own and others) with as much respect as wins. Remember, failure is an opportunity to learn and adjust. 

3. Adopt the mindset, “Try, fail, learn, repeat”

The adage goes that in order to succeed, first, you have to try. So often, people are hesitant to tackle new skills or challenging situations because they are afraid (or already certain) of failure. People with confidence are more likely to tackle something new. They’re less scared of the consequences of imperfection. Not only are they more likely to try, they’re more likely to keep going to master something hard, instead of giving up. To improve, you need to learn new things; in order to learn new things, get used to occasionally messing up.

How to get it: Build learning into your life at home and at work. Let others see you developing new talents, and most importantly, let them see you keep going even when you have a setback. If you can get comfortable with “try, fail, learn, repeat,” you’ll inspire others to persist in their own goals. You’ll build a stronger, more successful organization in the process.

4. Exert greater influence

When leaders exert their influence to further a project, advocate for a person or sway a decision, they rarely do so from a need to exercise power but from a deep-seated confidence in their abilities and the conclusion they have drawn on the situation at hand. Influence comes from having both the history and the gravitas in their decision-making to sway others. 

How to get it: Always take advantage of an invitation to join in a decision-making process. Don’t keep your ideas to yourself – speak up. Despite your hesitations, you’ll need to find ways to share what you think with as much poise and calm as you can muster. Learn to speak confidently about your ideas, and influence will build, in turn, attracting more subordinates to you who feel secure in your decision-making. 

5. Inspire loyalty

Your subordinates and peers will become more loyal to you because they see how you believe in yourself. They will feel your confidence and that leads them to becoming confident in themselves. With each success, the subordinate builds confidence, becomes less concerned about making mistakes and is inspired to take more risks.  Subordinates trust leaders with genuine self-confidence and want to go the extra mile for them. This type of commitment and effort brings top results and great success for the entire group.

How to get it: Do your work with conviction, and make sure to express your confidence in your employees’ work both vocally and with your body language and actions. When your team sees your belief in yourself and them, you will see that confidence build and reflect two-fold.

When you want to enhance your success as a leader, the number one trait you’ll need to polish is your confidence. Your well-founded high regard for yourself, your experience and your opinions will translate into greater opportunities, more influence, and a more successful workplace overall. 

Opinions expressed by SmartBrief contributors are their own.


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