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8 Ways to Build Self-Confidence in Leadership

I was eighteen years old the first time I was put into a formal leadership position as the Assistant Manager of a tuxedo store. I was young, ambitious, and excited to move up at a young age. I have always felt, and been told, I had natural leadership abilities, but this was the first time I had a formal leadership role in the workplace. I had some confidence in my character and ambition, but I started to wonder how I could grow my confidence with no experience. I was lucky to have great leaders over me who coached and developed me along the way.

Over the years, I have had the pleasure working with amazing leaders in various settings. No matter how old or young, new or experienced, I noticed there are so many great leaders who struggle with self-confidence. We all go through seasons of strong and weak performance, but our self-confidence (not cockiness) should be one of the foundational traits we have. Listed below are some of the common ways to build and grow your sense of self-confidence.

 

  1. Know Your Identity.

What do I mean by identity? Our identity is the core belief and center that shapes how we view and interact with the world. Our identity not only shapes our perspectives and ideals, but it drives the type of person we desire to become. Our identity is more than mere reputation, title, and/or status; it is the essence of who we are.

In terms of building self-confidence in leadership, knowing and understanding our identity shapes the way we think, act, and respond towards others. For me, my identity is formed in my faith. I am a Christian. My identity is formed and shaped in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and through the lens of the Bible. As a leader, no matter what I do or don’t do, it will not shake my confidence in who I am. Knowing your identity will boost your self-confidence because it provides a sense of security not determined by others or by your works.

 

  1. Strong Self-Awareness

Do you have a realistic perception and sense of self-awareness? There are so many great personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test, the DISC assessment, and the Enneagram test to help you better understand your personality. Growing in self-awareness will boost your self-confidence as you began to learn more about your personality, and how you can improve as a leader.

I like doing a personal S.W.O.T. Analysis for myself and clients to help process your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for growth, and threats that keep you from growing (S.W.O.T.). Personality assessments, tools like the S.W.O.T. Analysis, and understanding how you interact with others will provide you the right place to focus for improvement. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to lead with confidence!

 

  1. New Way of Thinking

Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” A great leader is a great problem solver. In order to lead well, we must have a paradigm shift in our thinking. Stephen Covey, in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, defines this paradigm shift in thinking as principle-centered, character-based, and inside-out approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness.

In order to boost our self-confidence, we must have this paradigm shift in our thinking! I love Covey’s idea of “inside-out approach” to thinking. Essentially, it is analyzing how you interact within situations instead of approaching it from the outside. For example, let’s say you have an employee who is lazy and unproductive. Many leaders approach that situation and treat the symptoms. The inside-out approach would respond by asking something like, “How can I lead this employee with more hard work and model productivity?” It is a new way of thinking that does not excuse poor behavior, but increases your confidence to lead with more diligence.

 

  1. Be a Learner

Great leaders are great learners. There are so many ways to grow in self-development. I listen to podcasts, read books, go to conferences, watch and learn from others, and still continue to learn about others. Being a great learner will boost your self-confidence because it should give you a humble spirit, allow you to grow your skills, and increase exemplary actions and behaviors.

I am a leadership coach, not because I hold a book of secrets that have to be memorized, but because I am learning to tap in and empower leaders with their skills and experience. A great leadership coach is a great learner, and will leverage your skills and abilities to motivate and accelerate you towards personal and professional success. Your self-confidence grows as your wisdom and knowledge grow!

 

  1. Celebrate Internal & External Wins

Celebrate! I know so many high impact leaders who do not know how to celebrate a personal or professional victory. This is a highly critical skill for leadership and self-confidence. Imagine you are in the National Football League and your team goes to the Superbowl. You win the Superbowl, but do not celebrate because you want to get ready for next season! This sounds extreme. There are so many leaders who understand a win, but they do not celebrate the win.

A practical way to boost your self-confidence is to track wins. Set some personal goals and celebrate them! These can be internal. For example, maybe you see improvement in a skill you are developing, or growing in a personal quality that makes you a better leader. I have several clients who journal, treat themselves to a special dinner, or have a fun way to celebrate their development. Celebrate external wins too! This could be seeing a team victory, or having a major breakthrough with an employee. Discover fun ways to mark and celebrate success. This will naturally boost your confidence.

 

  1. Project Confidence

Projecting confidence is NOT, “fake it until you make it.” Projecting confidence happens in a few ways. First, dress confidently. Take pride in your appearance! There is power and truth in the psychology of dressing for success. This looks different in various environments, but the concept remains the same. Second, body language and posture. 90% of someone’s perception of you is made up in the first 30-60 seconds of your interaction!

Facing fear is real, but you cannot let fear control you. Several of my family and friends are in the military, and they were trained how to react when facing fear. Our brain goes into fight, flight, or freeze mode when triggered. A big part of the training was a mental shift that happened by rigorous practice, a new way of thinking, and projecting confidence! Let’s say you are terrified by public speaking. Boosting your self-confidence in this area will take rigorous practice, focused-thinking, and the ability to take and apply critical feedback. You can do all these things while projecting confidence.

 

  1. Help and Empower Others

Leadership is about helping and empowering others to achieve a common goal or purpose.  Your self-confidence will grow as you lead well, and see others achieve success! This will naturally increase their confidence in you as a leader. We talked about celebrating internal and external wins. That is another way to help and empower others!

As a leader, you want to position people for success. This is a win-win-win situation. The company wins by having multiple empowered people leading up towards success. The people you help and empower win because they now have the confidence and freedom to perform successfully. You as the leader wins because you are empowering others and leading the company towards success. Your confidence will accelerate rapidly as you help and empower others achieve success.

 

  1. Ask for Help

Do not skim over this one! Asking for help is a critical skill for high impact and successful leaders. Confident leaders know what they know and what they don’t know and are not afraid to ask for help. This has to be a part of the paradigm shift in our thinking. We must stop seeing asking for help as a sign of weakness, and start seeing it as part of development. When I was a young Assistant Manager at the tuxedo store, I did not want to ask for help. I believed I had to prove myself, but lucky for me, I had some great leaders who taught me how to ask good questions. A great leader is a learner, and we should never stop learning!

 

Growing in self-confidence greatly relies on you. All of these tips for growing in self-confidence and development are largely in your control. You can do it! If you need help in one or multiple of these areas, go find a seasoned leader to mentor and coach you. Many of these areas can be improved by attending specialized classes, or hiring a professional coach to empower and develop you! As a Professional Leadership Coach, I work with leaders in all positions to equip, empower, and encourage them to grow to their fullest potential. I get to celebrate wins with them as they crush personal and professional barriers keeping them from achieving success. Do not wait! I encourage you to keep going, and you will see your self-confidence grow at a rapid rate!

 

Written by Jonathan Rector

Executive Leadership Coach

What is Executive Leadership Coaching?

What is Executive Leadership Coaching?

You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.” – John Maxwell

 

The road to mastery in any subject consists of three things: Knowledge, experience, and coaching. Think about it. How did you get a driver’s license? You had to take a written test (knowledge), log so many miles and time (experience), and had a parent or adult driver ride with you (coaching). Executive Leadership Coaching is collection of ongoing education in your field (knowledge), inspirational and experienced coaches (experience), and updated exercises and content for development (coaching).

 Certified Executive Leadership Coaching focuses on 5 areas of the leader: Soft Core Business Skills, Hard Core Business Skills, People Skills, Exemplary Leadership Behaviors, Exemplary Leadership Actions.

 

 

  1. Soft Core Business Skills:

Soft core business skills would include items such as being approachable, enthusiastic, having clear core values, etc. Executive leaders have a tremendous amount of responsibility, and the soft core business skills matter to be an exemplary leader.

  1. Hard Core Business Skills:

Hard core business skills include being a strong communicator, good at time-management, being a good steward, etc. The leaders that struggle with this the most are often nonprofit leaders, pastors of small to mid-size churches, and entrepreneurs in start-ups. These leaders are usually forced to carry a majority of the administrative work on top of their passion to serve in their respected fields. They may not have the resources to hire administrative assistants or lack the proper base-line education; but, many of these skills can be caught or taught through experience and education. Coaching provides a systematic approach to developing leaders to be efficient in hard core business skills.

 

  1. People Skills

General Montgomery defines leadership as, “The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.” Leadership is about people. Our people skills matter. People skills include empathy, people development, being helpful to others, trusting others to do their job, etc. Leaders might be really good with business, but struggle working and influencing others. A leader exists to invest, influence, and inspire others into action.

 

  1. Exemplary Leadership Behaviors

What qualities or behaviors do great leaders have in common? Exemplary leadership behaviors include: courage, integrity, humility, vision, etc. These are the type of qualities and behaviors we see written in core values. Great leaders start with their character. How can we expect these behaviors from others if we are not willing, or unable, to live them out ourselves? Executive Leadership Coaching will equip, empower, and encourage you to lead to your greatest potential.

 

  1. Exemplary Leadership Actions

Vince Lombardi Said, “Leaders aren’t born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” Our actions speak louder than words. I am a Christian, and the Bible says a similar message that faith without works (action) is dead (James 2:17). Great leaders are those who are made, developed, and act. Exemplary Leadership Actions include problem-solving, delegation, empowering others, being a learner, etc. We all have blind-spots, but great coaches help us prioritize and execute our goals.

 

Executive Leadership Coaching will tap into your greatest resource-YOU and your team. Coaching provides a collection of ongoing education in your field (knowledge), inspirational and experienced coaches (experience), and updated exercises and content for development (coaching). Leadership development is a journey, and our team of coaches are dedicated to equip, empower, and encourage you to live, lead, and succeed to your fullest potential. Contact us today to book a free session. Do not wait to invest in your leadership.

 

Written by Jonathan Rector

Executive Leadership Coach

6 Signs of a Toxic Work Culture

What is a toxic work culture? Since I was fifteen years old, I have worked in a variety of environments with a variety of leaders and cultures. I believe there are varying degrees of toxic work cultures and leaders, but I wrote down six signs you might be in a toxic culture. There are more than these signs, but these I have experienced these first-hand.

  1. Poor Vision and Values.

I have worked in fast-food, sales, nonprofits and churches, and this has happened across the board. When the leader or the organization fails to cast vision, or build strong values, the team suffers. You cannot lead someone somewhere if you don’t know where you are going. There is an old church saying, “If there is a mist in the pulpit, then there’s a fog in the pews.” If the leadership and organization poorly communicate the vision and values then you will fail.

  1. Bad Communication.

Everyone is good at communicating poorly. Good communication takes intentionality and strong systems. One of the biggest frustrations on all levels in an organization is when they are on different pages. Over communicate! Internal and external communication takes strong systems. When, how, and to whom am I responsible for communicating with? I have worked in toxic work cultures that became worse because of the frustration of bad communication.

  1. Unrealistic and False Expectations.

I have been on the giving and receiving end of unrealistic and false expectations. Here is an example. I was twenty-two when I became a sales manager at a Christian bookstore. I was tasked with equipping and developing the staff to sell, or at least that is what they said. The job description and what the leadership said that is what they wanted, but in reality, I spent most of my time on tasks and stocking shelves. When I tried to develop and encourage our team to sell, I was asked to get back on task. There is nothing wrong with tasks, but the job description and expectations were not what they really wanted. Maybe they desired for me to sell; but in reality, they wanted me to be a task master. In the end, I was frustrated because I felt like I was failing. There were unrealistic and false expectations on both sides.

  1. Passive and Insecure Leaders or Co-workers.

Insecurity and passivity lead to a toxic work culture. A passive leader will fail to correct poor habits and behaviors out of fear or laziness. The passive leader either doesn’t care about the situation, or they are afraid of conflict. Experience teaches me that it is usually fear of conflict. The Insecure leader usually makes it about them. They have to be the best. They have to be right. They have to dominate out of fear or pride. Insecurity and passivity will create a toxic work culture and lead to turnover or stalled productivity.

 

  1. Poor Systems and Structures.

One of the biggest frustrations I have experienced has been poor organizational systems and structures. How is this toxic? Poor systems and structures lead to a toxic work culture because it leads to confusion, frustration, and turnover. This will affect you as a leader, your team, your customers, and your bottom line (or goals, impact, etc.). This is notorious in the church and nonprofit realm. With small budgets, high demand of time and energy, and depending on volunteers, churches and nonprofits get overwhelmed and struggle to create good systems and structures. As leaders we need systems and structures to help the flow of communication, assignments/tasks, and development. When I worked in sales, I needed a clear and easy system to connect customers to products, and ways to follow up with them. One of the ways I succeeded in sales was by having a good system and structure to make them happy. By doing this, I created a loyal long-term customer. Systems and structures matter.

 

  1. No Voice or Value.

As a worker and as a leader, I love when I feel I have a voice that is heard. There is nothing worse than sitting in a meeting and feeling no value. Your team, customers, and co-workers have value and their voice matters. Even if you don’t use their ideas, make them feel heard. As a leader, your people bring value and have great ideas. When we suppress their ideas and voice, you are communicating to them that they do not matter. This will create a toxic work culture of bitterness, frustration, resentment, and they will leave.

 

There are plenty of other signs and indicators of toxic work cultures, but I have witnessed these six first-hand. We all go through rough seasons in life, and perhaps you are in one of those seasons. The hardest decision to make is when should I leave. I cannot answer that for you, but ask yourself tough questions like, “Do I see myself here in a few years if it doesn’t change?” “Are these issues small enough for me to accept and move past?” No one is perfect, but I have worked in some great work cultures. I love what author Craig Groeschel says in every podcast he does, “When the leader gets better, everyone gets better.”

From Skeptic to Coach: My Journey to Professional Coaching

This sounds weird I said to my mom, Mary Rector, who was explaining her new venture as a Life Coach. And I am a millennial! My mom, Mary, became a certified Life Coach in 2018, and I didn’t have a clue what a Life Coach did. I grew up in sports and understood the crucial role as a coach. I worked in sales, and I saw the importance of mentors and leadership coaches, but I didn’t understand why someone needed a coach for life. “Isn’t that what parenting is for?” I thought (as I laughed).

The truth is, I was a very opinionated and outspoken skeptic. At first, I confused Life Coaches with counselors and consultants. Counselors focus on the mind and emotions, and consultants give advice and guide you. “So, what does a Life Coach do?” I asked. Life Coaches focus on six areas of your life, help you formulate goals, hold you accountable to your goals, and celebrate your wins.

The six areas a coach helps you with are:

  1. Career
  2. Relationships
  3. Finances
  4. Health
  5. Spirituality
  6. Well-being

 

Skeptic to Student

I started to understand the need for Life Coaches, but I still was skeptical of the process. I decided to enroll in the Fowler International Academy of Professional Coaching, and complete training in Community and Professional Coaching. As I went through the training, I started to see the benefits of the curriculum paired with a knowledgeable coach. With my background in business and churches, I see the real need for quality coaching.

 

Student to Coach

As a leader in a nonprofit, entrepreneur, and a Pastor in a small church, I became a believer in Professional Coaching. I think back in my professional life, and I have a tremendous team of people who have mentored, inspired, and pushed me to be better. In my personal life, I have friends and family who encourage me and celebrate with me when I succeed. A Professional Coach offers unbiased opinions, has knowledge and training in their field, and is committed to seeing you succeed.

In my next blog, I will talk more about the differences in Life Coaching and Executive Leadership Coaching! Thank you for reading, and we hope encouraged you today.

 

By Jonathan Rector

Executive Leadership Coach, Life Coach, Community Coach