By Jim Wong, CPA | September 30, 2015

“Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered–just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.” -Barrie Davenport

Of the many qualities good leaders possess, perhaps the most important attribute is having self-confidence. In my years of experience, I’ve seen leaders who are highly confident – taking risks and facing their fears head on, while I’ve also witnessed leaders who are not as confident and struggle to make sound decisions or believe in themselves.

Whether you’re a leader in accounting, finance, IT, or any other profession, the most effective leaders usually have the ability to successfully combine confidence, positivity and humility. Even the most confident leaders, though, know it’s unrealistic to have complete self-confidence at all times. Therefore, it’s important to know there are helpful tools to help develop your self-confidence along the way.

Just like anything else, practice makes perfect, and your self-confidence is no exception.

That’s why when I saw a recent Inc. list on “5 Powerful Ways To Boost Your Confidence,” I knew I wanted to share some of the tips along with a few of my own. Take a look at these pointers below.

1. Set small goals. This is a simple way to boost your self-confidence. Instead of getting overwhelmed by a major project or task, start small and work on a project that you know you can achieve – whether that means delegating or completing the tasks by yourself. Then, when you or your team finish the small project, you’ll see how effective you really were — even if you didn’t realize it before.

2. Listen. This is an extremely important skill for everyone, especially leaders, to possess. Listening to the folks on your team will help you better understand their needs and will allow you to further develop your leadership skills. Everyone likes when leadership cares, and when colleagues know that their boss is listening to them, chances are your relationship will become stronger. Having that type of trust will definitely make a leader feel more confident in their abilities.

3. Look the part. It may seem shallow, but your appearance is important when it comes to your professional reputation. In addition to being well dressed, smiling, good posture and maintaining eye contact are all surefire ways to show others that you have self-confidence, even if you don’t feel it inside. Therefore, putting on your favorite outfit, along with flashing a happy smile, can be the difference between others seeing your confidence, or others seeing uncertainty. Be sure to present yourself the best way you can – in all facets.

4. Think positive. Negativity won’t get you very far. Often, low self-confidence stems from negative thoughts about oneself. Instead of thinking the worst, change your attitude and start thinking about the positives. As the old saying goes, positivity breeds success and when you start thinking good things, you’ll see good things happen to you.

5. Trust your knowledge. In order to become a leader in the accounting, finance or IT professions to begin with, you had to have displayed some sort of excellence in your craft. Remember that knowledge and expertise, no matter when your confidence gets tested. Reverting back to what you know will often make you feel more prepared and comfortable. This, in turn, can help boost your confidence in whichever situation you’re in.

What are some other tips for leaders to help boost their self-confidence? Comment below and let us know!

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