Though so much has been written about good leadership, we still at times fail to understand the concept because it’s so individualized. As the Immediate past chair of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and the current chair of the organization’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Development, I have had the opportunity to travel domestically and internationally to meet with business leaders while they are working on their skills. Consequently, I have thought a lot about the connection between leadership and a trait I find to be key: confidence.

 “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” Wayne Dyer once said. I have found this to be true throughout my professional experience both as a former law enforcement officer and now as a business owner.

Confidence as power

One of the many things you learn as a law enforcement officer is the need to convey confidence. When you walk into a dangerous or disruptive environment, you need to project confidence in order to gain trust, take control and promote calmness. The same can be applied in our businesses. 

"I have thought a lot about the connection between leadership and a trait I find to be key: confidence."

It’s important to know from where you are communicating and to recognize what emotion is driving you. Having confidence while communicating and being aware of your own emotional triggers can help you in practice self-control and be intentional with your communication.

Fighting against negativity

Being confident can also help avoid or diffuse negative emotions like fear or greed. Fear can paralyze individuals, rendering them unable to make a decision; being afraid can also make someone confrontational or lead them to causes conflict.

Greed can lead to individuals feeling territorial, confrontational and unwilling to share information that is crucial to decision making. When you have these two emotions present at a meeting, it can become explosive in a conversation and lead to failure.

Staying aware

Each business and organization is only as strong as its weakest link, and allowing negative emotions to dominate a conversation will only cause breaks in teamwork.

Much of being a good leader is about controlling both verbal and nonverbal cues. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” I believe the same can be said of leadership. Leadership is the key to keeping communication cues balanced, and confidence is the key to effective communication.