Are you taking on a new or bigger leadership role in the coming year? As my clients as continue to step up and show what they can do, many of them find themselves in this situation. Although a promotion, stretch assignment, or new role can be exciting, it often comes with some performance anxiety. So, when a transition like this is happening, I find myself coaching leaders on how to boost their self-confidence.
One of my clients will take on a new job over the next few months — and she's feeling a little nervous about it, especially since her predecessor won’t be around as an ongoing resource. If you find yourself stretching out of your comfort zone, make a list of all the reasons you will succeed and what you bring to the table. Even if some of the items don't seem all that consequential, write them down anyway. You might be surprised at the length of your list. Remember to include your skills, experience and results; your understanding of the inner workings of the company; and the relationships you've cultivated. If you’re a woman, this list might help you step up even more. Research shows that women believe they should have all of the competencies required of a new role before they take it on, while men have more confidence that they can succeed in a new role even if they don’t have them all.
Nine times out of 10, relationships will be the most critical factor to success in your new role. And, I'm betting, your relationship skills are one of the biggest reasons you got the promotion in the first place. If you're feeling insecure about the skills you'll need in the new job, take a look at what has worked successfully for you in the past (i.e., your personal best practices). And don’t forget to give yourself some space to grow in your new job; it's supposed to be a stretch.
As someone who’s stepping into something new, keep in mind that people will pay more attention to how you show up when you first start but they will also give you some latitude. Having a strong executive presence can position you well because your confidence comes through in the way you carry yourself. Make sure your body language and posture convey your positive energy and that you have something valuable to contribute. So, as you prepare for your new role, think about how you want to show up. What behaviors do you need to develop further?
Let’s take a simple example. If you have a habit of taking copious notes in meetings, recognize that doing this in your new role might send some unintended messages: “I have a lot to learn” (I’m not ready for the role) or “Your opinion carries a lot of weight” (I’m giving away my power by deferring to your perspective).” To be clear, I am not suggesting that you stop taking notes. Just do it in a way that instills confidence and demonstrates strong leadership. Show others that you are actively listening and value their perspective, while showcasing your own confidence and capability. In other words, pay attention to what you do and how you do it.
This week, I encourage you to:
Give yourself a confidence boost by noticing the value of your unique strengths and accomplishments. Our Leadership EDGE SeriesSM booklet: Strategically Standing Out has more tips on how you can differentiate yourself.
Show up with confidence and capability. Take at look at our Leadership EDGE SeriesSM booklet, Building Executive Presence for ways to do this.
Remember that small steps lead to big results. So the small changes you make now to build and show your confidence will deliver big results for you.