Why Confidence Will Not Turn You into a True Leader

Confidence is a term that coaches, mentors, and managers use to pep-talk themselves and others in the workplace. “Say it with confidence! Fake it until you make it.” Confidence might make others believe that you are a leader, and make you feel powerful, but are you competent? Are you influential?

Confidence is the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something. It is the sense of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s abilities or qualities, driving people’s actions and attitudes. Whom are you trusting?

Statistics have shown that overly confident people are no longer empathetic. They become hypocritical and dehumanized individuals tending to be more selfish and self-indulged.  A study titled Power, Competitiveness, and Advice Taking: Why the Powerful Don’t Listen explains that the power of confidence leads people to ignore advice from novices and experts. This happens countless times in the workplace. Managers no longer listen to their team members. Team members, when attempting to speak freely in meetings, are hushed by their direct supervisors. Direct supervisors find themselves making mistakes that could have been avoided if only they had listened.

Confidence suppresses self-respect and compassion. It removes the concern for one to seek humility earnestly. Have self-esteem. Have self-respect. Love yourself, and believe that you are capable and able to do more. However, let go of the ego, the confidence, of the ideologies that hinder you to becoming a leader that possesses compassion - one that is influential and competent.

Neuroscience research shows that developing compassion removes the unreasonable expectations we place on ourselves and others, allowing us to be more compassionate towards others and ourselves. We instead turn our focus towards forgiving. We start to care for each other genuinely. Our psychological well-being, happiness, and optimism increases, while, depression, anxiety, and perfectionism decrease. Instead of massaging our egos with confidence, let’s take the time to learn and serve. May we be slow to speak and quick to listen. May compassion be our driving force positively impacting the people around us.

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