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confidence becomes further eroded. Confidence doesn’t just happen – it’s a lifelong process, achieved by learning through our successes and failures. Failure has been the making of many great leaders who demonstrate their resilience by bouncing back from defeat to try again.

Knowing who you are

Confidence: the essence of leadership By Ros Ronning


ow well we perform as a leader is measured by how willingly others follow. A leader paints an aspirational picture of future success. They are the safe pair of hands; able to solve problems and lead through the tough times to ensure a sustainable future. Great leaders can do this and at the same time radiate a sense of confidence others admire and aspire to. Women new to leadership roles have been shown to have a high degree of ambition, with a mix of confidence, a determination to be successful, and desire to achieve aspirational goals. However, some studies suggest the longer they remain in business, these aspirations diminish rapidly with more than 50 per cent of women in leadership roles losing confidence and the will to continue. Many factors come into play when considering why this happens. Typically, women feel they have to compete – often unfairly – with their male counterparts to be heard and taken seriously. Instead of relying on the capabilities and talents they bring to the table, women often feel they have to re-shape who they are and start acting out of character and adopting a persona that doesn’t reflect their authentic self. This behaviour erodes self-confidence and frequently results in women being overlooked for more demanding roles because they are perceived as too erratic, emotional and simply trying too hard to be like their male counterparts. When our confidence takes a hit, it initiates a series of emotional responses and an internal dialogue or self-talk which may lead to the creation of self-limiting beliefs. We might start questioning whether we are good enough and whether we have what it takes to be a leader. The unfortunate consequence of self-limiting beliefs is that we feel if we make a plea for help, this will only add to the perception that we don’t have what it takes, and our

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Recognising confidence in others is a matter of perception. Even the most confident of leaders experience moments of doubt, and that’s a good thing because it shows we are all human and we all suffer from frailties. However, a good starting point for enhancing selfconfidence is knowing who you are, what you believe in, what you want to achieve and staying true to yourself. If we have that belief, it manifests in how we interact with others. Such surety gives us confidence. The term authentic leadership describes a leader with the confidence to be open, honest, and candid. Authentic leadership means having a realistic view of who you are and being proud of it and is coupled with an appreciation for the importance of humility. People are naturally drawn to such leaders because they clearly express the future direction they have, for themselves and their business. It evokes confidence in those around them. When delivered with passion, energy and commitment, it becomes contagious and inspires others to want to achieve ambitious goals. These leaders are engaging and win the hearts and minds of their cohorts. The role of leader is a challenging one because we are constantly on show; our every action, reaction and intention is scrutinised. We hear about “walking the walk” and “talking the talk” but what does it mean? As a leader you are the focal point for everyone in your business. Leaders are highly visible; there is no down time because people constantly look to you for direction, guidance and support. They are also watching for inconsistencies in how we lead. If you expect your people to be diligent and committed, they expect to see these traits in you. People will walk over hot coals if they believe you will do the same, this is how we build engagement. Leaders who engage verbally paint a picture of what is possible and how to achieve it. They also realise they don’t necessarily need to have all the answers. An engaging leader inspires the confidence in others to want to follow them. They empower their people, enabling them to learn and grow in their role. Engaging leaders allow themselves and their people to learn through both successes and failures. By overcoming failures and setbacks, stepping up and taking ownership of our actions and realising the buck stops here, we enhance resilience, build self-confidence, humility and empathy. Confidence allows us to step up to the plate in times of uncertainty and change and willingly take ownership of change. Women in leadership roles often underestimate their ability to not only cope with change but to view it as an opportunity to create a better future. Confidence comes from allowing yourself to be the best you can be, challenging the self-limiting beliefs that hold you back, being proud of who you are and remembering to always back yourself. n Ros Ronning is the managing director of performance management practice C-Change Potential and facilitator of the SPASA Women in Leadership Program.

Profile for The Intermedia Group

SPLASH June-July 2019  

SPLASH! is the leading trade publication for the Australasian “wet industry”, incorporating the swimming pool, spa and aquatics industries....

SPLASH June-July 2019  

SPLASH! is the leading trade publication for the Australasian “wet industry”, incorporating the swimming pool, spa and aquatics industries....