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In the last two years I have supported the in-depth development of over 100 professionals, working with a wide range of people in leadership programmes, one to one coaching and senior team away days.

I have heard countless stories of confidence dips, particularly amongst women but men too. I am curious about what might be going on for you. It is draining when your confidence feels like a yoyo!

At the current time it can be easy to feel insecure when there is so much change and uncertainty going on, whilst our bills are only getting higher.

We may also have unsupportive colleagues, a boss with not enough time for us, or moving goal posts.

Different viewpoints can make it hard to work out what to do, and hard to follow through.

Does the yoyo in your leadership confidence:

  • Stop you from going for that promotion or change of job because it may seem too high a risk?
  • Mean that you can feel OK one day, but knocked off your perch the next; more easily than you would like?
  • Hold you back from telling your colleagues what you really think or feel; so you don’t really feel truly grounded with others?

Would a more stable, a more reliable level of leadership confidence help?

Here are some tips and techniques to do this, to create confidence at a level which matches your skills and experience:

  1. Go get some 360 degree feedback – about when you are at your best, your strengths, what you are reliably good at. Build on and stretch these things more
  2. Examine your assumptions and beliefs – this is hard work but well worth it. Make sure you create liberating truths from your limiting ones
  3. Accept that confidence can take a dip with something new, it’s an early warning signal. Your competence may need upskilling.

When your leadership confidence is challenged, the drop, the associated erosion is often a cognitive distortion. When the voices in your head are telling you that you can’t, or that you are not ready, or now is not the time; it is often not true.

When those voices are there, try this to bring you back to calm. From this place, you can regain clarity and reconnect with your confidence.

It’s a tool from positive psychology from the work of Martin Seligman called the 3Ps and here are the questions. Ask yourself if is it:

  • Permanent – or is the situation just temporary at this time
  • Personal – are you the only one, or are many in the same shoes
  • Pervasive – about all aspects of your life, or just this one facet

From this approach, you can develop and maintain a sense of leadership confidence which is future focussed and realistic for you.

I urge you to take this work seriously. The more skilled you become in using these tools and techniques to examine your thinking, the more quickly you will spot distortions. The sooner you spot distortions, the sooner you can replace them with kinder, truthful, future focussed and enabling alternatives.

Learning to turn round your thinking will help you focus your energy and move towards what you really want to gain as a leader in 2023.

For me, 2023 is about taking part in some amazing leadership development initiatives, travel adventures and walking thrills.

In 2023, what might it be for you?

If you, like some of the other professionals I work with, want to be more effective in managing and elevating your confidence to an appropriate level, I suggest that you start small and with some of these tips here.

Gill How loves to work internationally with managers, executives and professionals to help them to evolve, stretch and grow their leadership capability. She is a Master Executive Coach, innovative Leadership Developer with some significant walking goals! If she can help you in developing the potential of the professionals in your organisation, contact her at 

“Since being introduced to Gill, I have found her to be an exceptional trainer, coach and advocate for developing women into more senior roles. She has a real passion for making a difference and helping coachees to realise their value and reach their full potential in the workplace.

Gill truly cares and really embodies her values, helping others realise their strengths and have the confidence to do the same.”

Lucy-Jane Milton, People and Culture Professional, British Transport Police

Photo credits: Pexels and Unsplash

Gill How

Helping leaders grow, step up and deliver outstanding results

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