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Are You a Confident Leader?

Man shaking hands at meeting

December 8, 2016

By: Tyler Martin

Leadership is built on confidence. Before you can expect others to be confident in your vision, you need to have a healthy level of confidence in yourself. When a leader is confident, it shows. Even when they are not speaking, they carry an aura of assurance. So, where does confidence come from, and what defines a confident leader? 


Knowledge First

The most critical component of confidence is knowledge. If you have ever spoken on a topic you’re not fully familiar with, you have likely experienced a steep temporary decline in your confidence compared to when you are speaking on topics you have a strong grasp on. This is why you usually have to “climb the ladder” before reaching a leadership position. The time you spend working your way up equips you with knowledge on the many different areas of business that a leader must understand.

You can never expect to know everything, but a foundation of knowledge in your field is the seed of confidence. Occasionally, there might be someone who is confident despite having little knowledge, but you don’t want to be that person. Impostor syndrome is pervasive enough in even the most confident of leaders, much less those who are legitimately vulnerable.

Confidence Compounds Confidence

The more you know, the better able you are to execute. Every time you execute successfully reinforces both your confidence in yourself, and the confidence your team has in your leadership. The best way to build confidence is to do things the right way, the first time, and let the results confirm your actions.

Leading, Not Proving

The differentiation between cocky and confident is somewhat cliché, but it rings especially true in the business world. Don’t let your confidence turn into abrasiveness, or worse yet, ignorance. A confident leader knows when they need to adjust their stance based on others’ input. A cocky leader is so steadfast in their stature that their primary goal becomes to prove their worth.

Remember, confidence is a two-way street. It is every bit as important for your staff to believe in you as it is for you to believe in yourself. If you do things to feed your ego, be prepared for failures that will damage your confidence.

Culture Starts with You

One of the most visible and pivotal parts of your job as a leader is to shape company culture. This entails confidence in your personnel decisions, not just from a hiring standpoint, but also in giving each employee the best opportunity to succeed. I highly recommend reading Jackie Reed’s previous article, “The 7 Most Important Things You Need to Know About Shaping a Company Culture.”

Create Your Confidence with the HTM Master’s Program

Tying back to the importance of knowledge, the Hospitality & Tourism Management (HTM) Master’s Program at San Diego State University equips its students with the skills and support needed to become truly confident leaders. Whether you’re looking to gain, build, or solidify confidence, the program will empower and inspire you. Click here for a 90-second introduction to the HTM Master’s curriculum, faculty, and value.

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