How to Build Confidence

We all suffer blows to our confidence:

  • Thermometer confidence levelA poor performance review at work.
  • A client expresses disappointment or frustration that your work didn’t meet their expectations.
  • You’re told, “Your employment services are no longer needed.”
  • A loved one or someone whose opinion you value rejects you.

Yet a leader must maintain confidence to lead most effectively. When a leader has confidence, this engenders trust, influence and assurance in those around them.

So how can you build or re-build confidence?

Executive mentor and consultant Bobb Biehl has found in his research and work with thousands of leaders that confidence is a by-product of predictability. “Increase predictability and you increase confidence,” says Biehl. In Leading with Confidence, he describes different kinds of confidence. All are important.

Here are two along with tips for how to boost predictability and confidence:

1. Life confidence

This comes from having been loved by others “unconditionally” and having been successful in most everything you’ve done. This is self-confidence in your ability to handle whatever life throws your way. So even if the whatever is not predictable, your belief in your ability to handle it is predictable.

To build life confidence …

  • Remember how you’ve conquered previous challenges and how you’ve successfully handled unexpected and unfamiliar curve balls.
  • Remember your strengths and abilities and how those have helped you succeed in the past. Then determine how you can apply those to what you’re facing now to move forward.
  • Spend time with people who are supportive and affirming and believe in you.

2. Situational confidence

This is being confident in certain areas because you are expert or experienced in these areas. When you can predict how a situation will turn out because of your experience or expertise in similar situations in the past, then you’re more confident in facing the current situation.

To build situational confidence …

  • Learn more about the situation. Research, read and ask experts for advice and mentoring. Reduce the unknown.
  • Identify the things causing you stress in the situation and make a plan for how you will bring some predictability and manageability to these areas. Then execute.
  • Prepare. Rehearse. Practice.

Want to build confidence? Identify what’s causing your stress or dip in confidence, determine which kind of confidence you want to boost – it may be both of these – and inject predictability.

Image Credit

Joe Baker is a Partner with PeopleResults. As a leadership consultant and executive coach, he helps senior executives build confidence in themselves and those they lead. You can reach him at or on Twitter @JoeBakerJr