Can Leaders Empower Confidence?

pic for confidence blog

Whether we lead a team or collaborate with someone on a project, we can feel frustrated sometimes when we think that people aren’t pulling their weight. We know they have the abilities to contribute as well as the experience and yet they are quiet or slow to present their ideas. When they do share, they may be hesitant or say:

“Even though this isn’t a great suggestion, here it is.”

“I’m not sure this is the best choice.”

“I’m not as knowledgeable as you but this is my take.”

All these comments are just examples of people feeling insecure about themselves rather than seeing the wealth of information and talent they have to offer. I don’t believe that we are all born with an innate sense of confidence. Some of us learn it early on while others cultivate it as we grow. Building confidence in others is an important skill for leaders to be able to do in developing their teams as well as growing future leadership.

Are you a good confidence builder? Do you find ways to bolster the confidence in others?

Here are five ways to instill confidence with the people we work with:


Some of us gained our confidence in childhood. Some of us learned to be confident as adults. One helpful way to understand confidence building is to reflect how each of us obtained it.

  • Did a family member tell us how proud they were of our hard work?
  • Were we a strong student and a teacher noticed our outstanding assignment?
  • Can we think of a time our friends told us how important we were to them and the group?
  • Did we display a talent or behavior that others made positive comments about?


It is sometimes hard for people we connect with to see their worth. Yet, to us, their strengths and talents are so obvious. Notice and tell your teams or partners we collaborate with, what they excel in. Help them locate their unique abilities, especially those skills that seem to come naturally to them. It not only helps others feel valuable and worthwhile, but it also begins the process of building careers and life goals.


If leadership is all about growing future leaders, then empowering others to see their true selves is a critical way to cultivate future leadership on our teams. When we work on projects, don’t just focus on the tasks at hand but also commit to mentoring others by sharing the lessons you learned along the way. Be open about the mistakes you made and how you went about overcoming them. Be vulnerable about how you gained confidence by sharing your powerful stories and be open about the advocates you met throughout your career.


Make sure to acknowledge the contributions and lessons from others by telling your team members and people in your organization. Give as much credit as you can to the accomplishments of the people you work with.


Be a role model about the importance of possessing confidence and a strong sense of self.

  • Share your accomplishments in a humble way
  • Tell someone how much you admire their gifts and talents
  • Be generous in opening up about your roadblocks and how you successfully tackled them
  • Offer to be a guide or advocate for people you meet who may need a little nurturing

How do you instill confidence in others so they can be their best and be recognized for their unique contributions?

 (photo credit- Flickr CC Steve Wilson)

13 thoughts on “Can Leaders Empower Confidence?

  1. Right on! Confidence can definitely be cultivated! I also think our language, as you pointed out, says so much about our true level of confidence. Noticing the words we’re using and catching ourselves is a great start. I’ve also teamed with a manager so we could give each other a sign when one of us was using language that put our gifts in the backseat.

    We need to recognize our gifts before we have the confidence to use them! Thanks for not only telling us that it’s critical, but also sharing ways how leaders can do that staring now.



  2. That’s a great point that understanding a team member’s strengths and gifts is essential before they can gain confidence in using them. That’s where a strong leader comes in. They are able to help others see where they excel and make the greatest contribution. Coaching others to embrace their talents is a true example of servant leadership and a wonderful way to build confidence.

    I also loved what you and your manager did to make sure you were constant supports of one another. Sounds like an amazing leader.

    Thanks Alli for your great ideas! Terri

  3. Solid advice on how to act and lead with more confidence, Terri. Knowing who we are and what we stand for will help build confidence in what we say and what we do. Taking the time to understand our inner brand will help us deliver a more thoughtful, confident external brand. Thanks! Jon

  4. Helping others figure out what they are most passionate about and what they are strong in, is an essential skill for leaders. When people get the opportunity to use their gifts they gain an abundance of confidence.

    Thanks Jon!

  5. Great post Terri! I resonated with a few points on your list from various experiences over the course of my life.

    #2 Can be the most challenging for many people, and surprisingly enough, for many natural ‘coaches’! It’s easy for some of us to see the gifts in other people. Not so easy to see this in ourselves. So sometimes we may not even recognize what our true gifts are until someone comes along and ‘validates’ them.

    So nurturing the gift in one another is a loving ‘duty’ and kindness we can do to fan the flames of talent in those we love and the people we encounter and work with.

    Thanks for such great insights!

  6. I so agree Samantha that we are often the last ones to see our own natural gifts and that sometimes it takes others telling us about them to see them.

    When I was working with a group of managers who were having issues with their teams we spoke a lot about how to build more meaningful and trusting relationships. When I asked them if they knew about the team member’s passions, they weren’t so sure. They agreed to learn more by delving into more sides of their co-workers by just asking some questions. That in turn helped them see their team member’s true gifts and talents which led to a more trusting and confident workers in the workplace.

    Thanks Samantha for your wonderful additions to this conversation!

  7. What a powerful post, Terri!

    Lack of confidence is the one resounding, and consistent, theme I hear from people when they are in transition.

    Love the action steps you provide—helping others find their gifts. That is one of the best ways people can gain the confidence they need to move forward!

  8. That’s very interesting LaRae that when people are in transition their confidence is lacking. I believe it and that makes perfect sense because when we are looking for a new career or life journey we question everything about ourselves.

    Leading from wherever we are means helping others at the point where they feel vulnerable and less confident and trying to help them discover their uniques strengths and talents. Being a confidence builder is essential for all leadership.

    Thanks LaRae for your wonderful points!

  9. I find this one of the most important challenges in leadership.Helping the truly condient to also embace their humiility, and to help those less confident to find their voice. You have an amazing post here that gets under many of these issues.

  10. I agree Karin that humility needs to be part of a confident leader. There needs to be a balance between believing in ourselves, sharing our gifts and also not being arrogant.

    I find that people without confidence have a difficult time figuring out what their strengths are because they are unable to see their true worth. Sometimes they are stuck with a negative story someone told them about themselves and can’t quite shake it. If leaders can undo the negativity and fill the gap with positive feedback, people can build their confidence.

    Thanks for your great additions as always!

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