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Want to Be More Confident? 5 Leadership Habits to Start Right Now

This one “hard skill” might help more entrepreneurs than any other.

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BY Mareo McCracken - 29 Nov 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Creating a successful business requires many skills. There's one that helps improve results the fastest.

As a growth consultant, I saw the many ways businesses can fail. I've also seen them succeed--often for the same people, the same leaders.

As I studied each situation, there were two common themes that showed up over and over again. The main reasons good people, good ideas, and good teams fail are:

  1. They lack the ability to be flexible and pivot.

  2. They make excuses or find a way to place blame.

The foundation of both of those shortcomings is the lack of confidence. You need confidence, and so does your team. There are ways to build confidence in yourself while building it in your team as well.

More than nice to have, confidence is a needed hard skill.

Confidence is often considered a "soft skill." Experience shows that confidence can and should be learned and practiced.

One entrepreneur I worked with had a great product, but didn't feel comfortable expressing himself in public. He lacked confidence. Once he started practicing public speaking, his confidence grew, and finally so did his business.

He started speaking at industry events, which brought interest to his product. He started delivering better presentations to partners, which delivered amazing new clients. His ability to speak confidently allowed his business to gain needed partners and new clients.

Developing skills always leads to more confidence.

Confidence requires you to be vulnerable. Some leaders are not confident enough to be wrong or vulnerable. They always find excuses. Yet, If you honestly admit your weakness and show that you are trying to improve, you will be accepted. The "big fish" respect honesty.

Often confidence requires leaders to let go. Letting go of control and your image is the hardest part. Letting go requires losing temporary control, knowing that your long-term vision is intact.

Helping others develop confidence is the ultimate differentiator.

One leader I work with has tremendous confidence. A while back, his team was brand new and had never delivered a go-live, on-schedule, yet. They lacked confidence in each other and their ability.

Rather than wait for them to learn, this leader would do it all himself. Projects were delivered on-time, but the team didn't gain confidence. It wasn't until the leader started delegating and trusting that the team gained the confidence they needed to do the work themselves.

The growing pains were hard at first. But over time, the team started delivering projects without relying on their leader. The time-to-market was shortened, so they could take on more clients.

The leader had more time to focus on big picture strategy. The business was now scalable. All because the team that had the skills now also had the confidence.

While confidence in yourself is a must, having confidence in others is life changing.

Building confidence in others allows scalable growth. In order to build a successful team, you must rely on others. As you learn to trust others, the confidence you show multiplies and produces results.

Actions become habits. Habits create confidence.

Here are the habits that will build confidence in others while allowing it to grow in yourself as well:

  1. Delegate important tasks, and don't micro-manage.

    The ability to share responsibility frees up your time and mind to focus on the things you are really supposed to be doing while allowing the business to scale.
  2. Let team members be accountable, then hold them to it.

    If you want people to grow, it is important to make sure to hold your them accountable. Then they learn to be responsible and deliver, achievement breeds confidence.
  3. Create decision-making opportunities, and let them live with it.

    Give your team the opportunity to make decisions that directly affect their role and the project as a whole. If you take them seriously, they will take the work seriously.
  4. Assign tasks or assignments that you don't think they can accomplish, and then support them like crazy.

    Playing it safe is never the answer. Encourage your team to stretch by giving them work that they are not ready for. Once they start to truly struggle you help them with the last mile.
  5. Find ways to connect your mission with what motivates each individual.

    Each person has specific motivators. Whatever motivates the individual must be tied back to your organization's mission. This is where personalized sales and leadership comes in. It is your job to figure out the connection. When you spend time connecting the mission to the individual, your results will astound you.

When you place confidence in others, they return it back to you. If you want to build a business you need to have confidence in yourself and If you want to build a great business, you need to have confidence in everyone else too.