How to Be an Effective Leader When You are Unsure of Yourself

Your business needs you to lead it. You’re the one who will make critical decisions and determine the future of the company. For some entrepreneurs, this thought empowers them. But for others it is terrifying, particularly for those who aren’t too confident in themselves. They are passionate about their ideas, but carry around with them an inferiority complex. These leaders believe they are “less worthy or important than other people,” and their business suffers from it.

We all have moments of self-doubt, but it can’t be denied that for some, this doubt is more debilitating than it is for others. How can you “influence outcomes and inspire others” when you can hardly inspire yourself some days? It can be done, but it will take some effort.

If you find yourself struggling to find the confidence to move forward and lead your business, keep reading. Those around you need YOU, but you first have to see that in yourself.

Embrace vulnerability

This advice seems to contradict common notions about being vulnerable. In our culture, vulnerability is not an idolized character trait, but has become a sign of weakness. Is it, though?

Brené Brown is a former social worker who researches topics such as vulnerability and shame to uncover why people lack courage. In her popular TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” Brown discusses how vulnerability can be an agent for connecting to others. She says that, “In order for connection to happen, we have to be seen, really seen.” Those connections are what make leadership rewarding. You don’t want to miss out on them for fear of appearing too vulnerable.

Brown also mentions that those who accept vulnerability as a strength are more confident in themselves and believe in their “sense of worthiness.” They acknowledge their flaws, but also acknowledge what is good about themselves. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, and not self-degrading, as Brown’s studies show, you will be able to find more of that confidence and courage you are looking for. Your very nature, too, will seem more authentic, a quality all leaders should strive for.

Find strength within yourself

There will be others you work with who are more unsure of themselves than you are. Remember that they need you, your talents and your expertise. You may not feel like what you offer is not enough to keep your business afloat on some days. However, it is. Take time to reflect on what you give to your company. Find that “sense of worthiness” and use it as fuel to lead with confidence.

But also reach outside yourself

Remember, too, that you don’t have to do this alone. In fact, you shouldn’t. Another mark of a great leader is their ability to rely on others when they needed.

Your perceptions don’t always accurately depict reality. Sometimes you need another’s perspective to battle your own anxiety and self doubts. Talking to a team member could prove helpful to determining which of your thoughts are based on reality, and which are just anxieties blown out of proportion. Again, this requires you to be vulnerable, but brings added strength.

Chances are, you are managing your business much better than you think you are, as well. But you need to talk with others and look beyond yourself to see it. Isolating yourself from those around you could be destructive for day-to-day work and long-term business goals.

Don’t avoid conflict or change

Those with insecurities and anxieties avoid conflict and change like the plague. This is most likely because facing an unknown future drains your confidence. You are unsure if you can handle what is to come. But as a business leader, you will need to accept that change is inevitable and that conflict can’t always be avoided, nor should it.

When conflict arises within your company, rather than automatically avoiding it, look at the situation logically. Perhaps a compromise is needed that will be a benefit to your business operations. Progress often comes by way of conflict. As a leader, you need to be the one to help mediate these changes for the good of the company and the good of your team.

Choose to be a leader

You may not be able to shake off all of your insecurities, but “remember that leadership is a choice.” There is no perfect leader, so forget about overcoming every weakness before you lead your business to greater success. No matter where you’re at, you can choose to be a leader now.

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