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Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #180: 5 Ways To Increase Your Confidence As A Leader

March 22, 2022
Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #180: 5 Ways To Increase Your Confidence As A Leader

Are you confident in your leadership ability? Today, Perry and Chris talk about 5 ways to develop confidence as a leader.

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Perry Holley: Welcome to The John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a John Maxwell facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede: And I’m Chris Goede, vice president with The John Maxwell Company. Welcome, and thank you for joining. Here’s what I love about today. I love the fact that we’re getting feedback from those that are listening, getting questions. And today, we have a question that was asked of us, which is: How do you develop confidence as a leader if you don’t have it? And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to unpack that, so thanks for sending that in. Thanks for asking that question.

Chris Goede: I think we’ve all been there before, and so we are definitely going to unpack that. Today’s topic is Perry’s favorite number, and that’s why he’s still here on this podcast, Five Ways to Increase Your Confidence as a Leader. A few weeks ago, we did a podcast on balancing confidence and humility, which was again based off of one of the paradoxes of a book that Tim Elmore, one of our thought leaders here at The John Maxwell Enterprise, fantastic leadership book, so we’re going to dive into that. Before we get started, if you have a question, or a thought, or a topic that’s really relevant to what you’re dealing with inside your organization, inside your leadership culture, inside your leadership journey, please visit There’s a form there. Our team will receive that, Perry and I will get it, and then we’ll be able to have more relevant content in the future on our podcast. So Perry, five, I love it. I’m not surprised by it, so talk to me a little bit about it.

Yeah. This is a great question, and we talked about confidence and humility, and then somebody said, “Well, how do you build confidence?” And Chris and I were traveling together, and we got to talking about this, about confidence. And we both shared, I thought it was funny, we both shared that we have both been told from when we’re on stage that we appear very confident in ourselves, very confident in what we’re doing. And we both had a good laugh that we didn’t always feel that way, but we agreed that confidence is not built in a day. It’s kind of built day by day as you get better at what you’re doing. But I thought we could share some ideas on: How can you develop confidence as a leader to help in your leadership journey?

Chris Goede: Yeah. We both kind of giggled at that, and I think it’s interesting. Right? Don’t we take the assumptions and the perceptions of other people in a different way than what’s really going on? I think about the duck or the swan [crosstalk 00:02:44] up on the water. They’re like, “No, no, no. Underneath, you have no idea what’s going on,” and we are not confident.

Perry Holley: Paddling like a madman down here.

Chris Goede: And so you’re not alone. Right? Yeah. All of us have that feeling. And so yeah, let’s jump in. I’ll start with the first one, and I think these will be five great principles that we share with you about increasing your confidence as a leader. The first one, and I love this, it’s where we both admit this, and this is kind of our DNA, and kind of where we come from in our DNA here at The John Maxwell Enterprise, which is look outward, not inward. And what we mean by that is I know some areas in my life where I have felt the least confident is when I was looking at myself and wondering. How was I doing? How was I delivering it? How was I leading? Versus beginning to look outward and see. Hey, what does this look like to impact other people? Am I adding value to other people? Am I help … No matter what it looks like, am I beginning to do that?

Chris Goede: And I think when I look outward, for me, here’s what it comes down to. When I look outward, I make my focus and my attention about growing and developing other people and adding value to people. If I just get a thank you, man, thanks for helping me with that, because I invested outward, that builds confidence in me for the next opportunity to do something or answer a question. And so for me, thank you goes a long way in building my confidence. But it first starts, in order to get the thank you, with beginning to look outward.

Perry Holley: It’s so huge. And this was so grateful that a senior speaker, I was invited to be on a speaking circuit, and the senior guy kind of cornered me one night and said, “Were you on or off today?” I go, “I was a little off today.” He goes … Because I was on stage with him, and he goes, “You know what the difference is.” I said, “No. What?” And he just unloaded on me that when I’m off and look un-confident and nervous and sweaty and fidgety and anxious, all that came about because I was looking at the audience wondering, “Do they think I look good? Do they think I sound smart? Do they think … ” And they’re all … I’m worry about what they think of me.

Chris Goede: Of you, yeah.

Perry Holley: And I said, “Well, when am I on?” He goes, “When you look at what you deliver for the audience,” he says, “I started thinking about that.” And I actually shared that on a coaching call this week with a CEO who said, “I’ve got this corporate think working on. I’m giving a speech to the company. I’m so anxious.” And I go, “Tell me more about that.” And when he got down to it, he was worried about how they say him. And when I said, “What about how you saw them? What value can you … What’s the nugget you want to leave them? What’s the value? What are they going to come away with? What value can you add to them in that 15 minute talk you’re going to give?” He goes, “Dude, you just changed my life.” I went, “It changed mine.” I know. I look confident because I’m not … Do I hope you think I sound smart? I do, but that’s not why I’m here.

Perry Holley: Do I want you to think I look good? Yeah, but that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to add value to you. And I thought to me, if you really want to add confidence, start thinking about your audience, whoever it is, at home, at work, in the community, do that.

Chris Goede: Outward, love it.

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Perry Holley: Number two is develop your self concept. This may sound a little funny, but John once said and I kind of shunned it at the moment, but now I really understand it, was he said, “You can’t really connect with others until you connect with yourself first.” And I thought, “What does that mean?” And I heard Brian Tracy do a lesson on that every one of us, all of us have a self concept. How do we see ourself? My self image, my self esteem, my self belief, and that how I see me and how I talk to me has a lot to do with what I show to others, and if I don’t believe in me, if I’m down on myself, I have a bad self image, then I’m probably going to not have a lot of confidence that I’m going to project to others.

Perry Holley: So I think you really ought to look at how you talk to yourself, and give yourself a good talking to, not a bad talking to. But I found that if I would stop talking bad to myself, actually encouraging myself in my self talk, we all do it, it’s not just me. I know those voices you hear in your head, that’s not me, that’s you. But the other thing I did was, this’ll sound a little silly, but I shared it on the coaching call and somebody said, “That’s really cool. I think I’m going to do that,” was I developed a mantra for me that when I, because I’m on a lot of stages, I do a keynote, I go up on stage, was saying, “If I go up there with self doubt and a bad self image, and not believing in myself, and thinking about how they view me, to your point on the first one, I’m going to focus outward and I’m going to think well of myself.” My mantra became I’m competent. I’m prepared. I have what it takes.

Chris Goede: That’s good.

Perry Holley: I’m competent. I’m prepared. I have what it takes. Now let’s do this. And I go up saying, “I prepared for this. I’m a subject matter expert in this place. I have what it takes.” Now do I know everything? No. Am I ready to learn something new? Yes. But I’m prepared to do this. This really doesn’t free me from working hard and doing the work to do that to improve. But all of a sudden when I see myself well, others begin to see me well because I project that confidence through that. What are your thoughts on it?

Chris Goede: Well, the preparation, what you just talked about, is key. Now you go ahead and wing it and don’t get prepared, and you may not have a good self concept of yourself after a couple of those experiences, so I love how you shared that, and then how you made it very practical in how we can apply it to our lives, so I love that. Number three, establish a daily routine for personal growth and development. When someone lacks confidence, they literally for me, they get nervous, they don’t know how to lead or influence people, it’s because they have not, in my opinion, looked outside to receive information and grow in ways.

Chris Goede: We were on a call this morning with my team. We are extremely busy right now, and our team is running at a fast pace. And we are serving a ton of clients and it’s awesome. But I said, “Hey, I need everybody to kind of take a deep breath. Not going to ask you to call you out right now. But what are you doing to grow yourself? What are you doing?” Because that will just encourage them to then develop themself to grow and become more confident in how we can best add value and serve people. And so we’ve got to make sure that we continue to invest in ourselves, and then we’ll be able to invest and grow others. And I think the more that you do that and the more that you see that impact happening, the more confident you will become in leading people.

Perry Holley: Yeah. If you’re not pouring into you, you can’t pour into others. If you’re in a conversation and it’s over your head because you haven’t been developing yourself, you’re going to not look confident in doing that.

Chris Goede: That’s right.

Perry Holley: And another nice thing you said to the team this morning too was you didn’t say, “Go read a book before the end of the week,” you said, “Do one small thing today, but do it every day.” Could you read two pages today? And then by the end of the month, maybe you finished that book, maybe not, maybe two months it takes to read it. But you did something every day to help add to yourself. And this is a practices that I’ve practiced now for, boy, 20 years, and it’s changed my life, so really a big believer in that.

Perry Holley: Number four, invest in a coach or mentor. Now I’m not just saying that because I’m a coach or a mentor, but I do find that this was very helpful to me, helping me understand that I’m not the only person that struggles with confidence. I’m not the only person that I just had such a narrow view of things that when I invoked a coach, and I know you’ve done this as well, is that you begin to get a bigger perspective, you get a bigger view, you get your blind spots maybe become uncovered. You begin to have more belief in yourself because you see the growth. You feel that somebody else is in there. I see progress in me. And it really helps me to move forward with confidence I think.

Chris Goede: Well, we talk about in the coaching process for us is that it’s really the three As. We say being a part of a coaching journey is someone’s going to ask you the touch questions. Hopefully, you’re telling them the truth. Break down those walls. Second part is they’re going to help you develop an action plan. And then the third A is they’re going to hold you accountable. When that happens, you become more confident in whatever it is that you’re going through. Maybe it’s a team member situation. Maybe it’s a presentation. Maybe it’s a project. You have helped and our coaches have helped in all of those situations. And when you have that outside perspective speaking into that, there’s no doubt in my mind because I’ve had it in my personal life, to where you walk in a little bit confident, a little bit more confident, so I love that you included that one. Well, the last one here, number five is develop your self awareness.

Perry Holley: There’s that one again.

Chris Goede: There’s this one again, yeah. Find those blind spots. Would you? We need to make sure. We’ve talked about this in podcasts in the past, several of them on self awareness. And so I think the more humble, the more teachable, and approachable you are, that you’ll gain more confidence, and that will happen over time. You’ll be able to kind of show vulnerability and develop trust with others. Again, this trust word comes back to for us is a currency for all leadership. It is the foundation. It’s level two influence in our five levels which everything in our podcast is built off of, the methodology of The 5 Levels of Leadership. And we just attack it from different competencies. But man, you have got to have that self awareness so people want to follow you.

Chris Goede: And we’re all probably thinking right now of a leader that maybe is not very self aware. And we may not be as well. I think last thought on this is that I think the longer that we’ve led, the more complacent we become, the more unaware we are of ourselves. And I think even in younger ages of leadership, when you’re not confident, or you’re still growing as a leader, I think we’re unaware of certain areas there as well.

Perry Holley: The word vulnerability sometimes gets thrown in there about if I’m self aware, then I’m more willing to recognize my own strengths and weaknesses, and I’m more willing to maybe talk about my weaknesses and try to help others. It gives me a vote of confidence to myself to know that when I share that … You and I do this a lot. I’ll say, “Man, I really messed that up.” And you’ll say, “Well, tell me more about that.” And we go back and forth and realize, well, you’ve had a similar issue, and you had a similar struggle. And then we talk about it. Now we’re both more confident in the fact, first, I wasn’t the only one.

Chris Goede: Right.

Perry Holley: Two, you gave me some good things to think about. And that’s kind of that coach mentor relationship to say, “Hey, help me with that.” I did reach out, I asked some folks. If you were going to build confidence, what would you recommend to someone? And one answer I heard more than … I shared some of them in the five, but that they found a role model, and they look at: Is there somebody in your life that you look up to and is example of how to lead, or how to be in front of a group, or how to do what you do? And having a role … I haven’t thought about that a lot, but I think we kind of look up, maybe John Maxwell to us is a little bit of a role model. You’re a little bit of a role model to me. We look at people and say, “How do I want to … “

Chris Goede: Well, I like that, except for one little twist on that. Right? I think that, and find instead of even role models, maybe mentors, maybe a coach, to your point earlier, because we don’t necessarily know the true meaning behind certain areas, or certain people, or why they’re doing things from a role model. But I know where you’re going on that. And what made me think about it was, yeah, absolutely, because if I can stand on their shoulders with the things that I’ve … It’s like I tell my kids all the time, man, listen, let me help you learn from the lessons that I made and your mom made. Let’s help you become more confident in situations and stand on our shoulders to be able to do that.

Chris Goede: And then maybe even some of the things that have worked, and they’ve observed it worked, in their mentor or their role model, then I think that gives you more confidence. But here’s one thing I want to add to that. Make sure that you’re not trying to imitate that individual in how they lead, or how they do something. Man, be authentic. Be yourself because that’s what’s going to put the cherry on top with your confidence. You will not have confidence. If I go onstage and I try to act like Perry Holley when I’m delivering a keynote. It’s not going to work. I’m not going to be confident in that.

Chris Goede: Now can I learn from Perry? Absolutely. Can Perry coach me? Absolutely. Can he help me with some self awareness issues on stage? Absolutely. And then I’ve got to take them, and I’ve got to make them my own, so that I’m authentically leading and being true to my leadership style. So why don’t you just make a last comment and wrap it up for us?

Perry Holley: I think that we talk about self awareness, and one of the things that we’ve got a discussion one day about reflection. Do you take time to reflect? And I think one of the things about my confidence level that’s helped me is to reflect on the journey a bit. You mentioned this in another podcast, but looking at the bigger picture of things and not just being heads down in today and feeling under the pile, but to actually look at the progress we’ve made. Look at what you’ve done. Reflect on the good and the bad, but also just to think about how far you’re come in what you’re doing, and to know that I’m developing. I don’t get it all in a day. I’m developing day by day.

Perry Holley: And am I doing the small things daily necessary to help grow me as a leader, as a man, as a person, to grow my abilities and my confidence, and to remember I am competent? I’m prepared. I have what it takes, and to really put that to work every day to project a confident style with others. So it really is a lesson that I think all of us … Some people maybe put on a fake confidence. They’re overconfident. And when they’re pressed or put into a tense situation, it kind of falls apart. I want to be the real deal. I want to be authentic. And I think that’s what we’re talking about here is authentic confidence that comes from developing yourself and focusing outward, developing yourself inward, and being that bigger person on the inside than you are on the outside, and really putting that forward to others, and it comes across as confidence.

Chris Goede: That’s good.

Perry Holley: Really grateful that you’d be with us today. Just a reminder, if you want the learner guide for this episode, you want to leave a comment, or a question, or gather any more information about the offerings that we have, you can do that at We always love hearing from you and we’re always grateful that you would spend this time with us each week. That’s all today from The John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast.

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