Courage and Confidence

leadership leaders“Have the courage to embrace the greatness for which you were born.” -Unknown

I ran across this quote years ago and immediately thought it didn’t apply to me because I didn’t believe I was born to greatness. However, after working with leaders for years, I realize everyone is born to greatness and this quote is absolutely accurate. What stops us is the confidence and courage to make it happen.

At an event a few months ago, I was asked what advice I would give to my younger self – the answer was easy – have confidence in your abilities. This could probably be said for everyone, however, for leaders it is paramount on the road to success. No one wants to follow a leader who is not confident. We label them as weak, spineless, wishy-washy and a number of other less than flattering descriptors. We are desperately hoping that the person in charge knows what they are doing and has the confidence to make it happen because we don’t – otherwise we would be in charge, right? If the leader exhibits any of these behaviors, we tune out, show disrespect or in social media parlance, unfollow them.

Some leaders are able to fake it until they make it, acting as if they know what they are doing and have enough success for those who follow to believe in them. And some leaders are completely unaware that they don’t know what they are doing and are not bothered by it because, for whatever reason, they are in the role of leader and are not giving it up. In these cases, with title comes entitlement.

To some degree, new leaders do need to assume the role without being great at it. Here’s where courage and confidence come in. It takes courage to put yourself out there, to lead the charge and to create a team around an idea. It takes confidence to carry it through when it gets tough. The challenge is that you only gain confidence through success, bravado will only carry you so far. Every success will build that confidence to give you the courage to try more, to do more, and to be more of who you are and what you can accomplish. Courage without confidence is a moment of greatness, courage with confidence leads to continuous learning and success. Great leaders have both.

Think about how you lead, and how you mentor your team. Are you exhibiting both courage and confidence? How would your team describe you? Are you building courage and confidence in your team or are you making them earn it? It’s not a hill that they need to take, just because you had too. A good leader encourages (note the word courage) others by inspiring confidence in their abilities and supporting them to be more of who they are. Great leaders not only embrace the greatness for which they were born, they also celebrate it and “gift” it to others.