How to Build Confidence as a Thought Leader

How to Build confidence as a leader by Mala Hemnani

There are many ingenious thoughts that are sadly never shared, due to the lack of confidence as a leader in expressing those ground-breaking ideas.

Repressing these pioneering views further robs others of the opportunity to expand their thinking on a given topic.

A thought leader is not only someone who is recognised as an authority in a specific field, but is someone who is turned to for guidance and expertise in that area. In other words, a thought leader is someone who leads others into new ways of thinking on a particular subject.

Is leadership possible however without confidence?

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Why is confidence important in leadership?

It is difficult to believe in someone who does not seem to believe in their own ideas. It is not possible to get a buy-in if one is not sure about themselves or their viewpoints. To lead is to inspire others to innovation and influence them into action.

The biggest giveaway here is to build your level of confidence as a leader. Confidence attracts others, confirming to them that you know what you are talking about. It gives them the much-needed assurance and encouragement to consider your words and go along with you.

Signs of confidence

Your level of confidence is seen by others, and sensed through the way you walk, talk and act. Carrying yourself with energy, speaking with passion, responding on point with clarity, and conducting yourself as an example showcases your conviction.

The courage to voice a thought that might be revolutionary, and to speak it with excitement and intensity, is the very display of a certitude that only invites further interest in what you have to say. You have touched on a prospectively novel idea. You seem convinced. We want to know what this might be. We are interested to learn more.

Confident leaders’ examples

Know your subject well 

Expertise leads to developing your confidence. Stay updated with trends and developments, identifying shifts and tendencies.

Regularly research and come up with your own concepts that enrich your own inclinations. This helps in building your confidence in your thoughts, inviting trust and credibility

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Take that which you can be true to 

Let your ideas be your own, so they are brought forth through your voice, your style and your persona. When it is your narrative, you are not trying to emulate anyone else.

You present yourself in the most authentic and unique way, and that is what engages others to pay attention to you, for there is only one you.

Don’t get thrown by the naysayers

Confident leaders are not thrown by the cynics. They focus on the essence and results of their ideas, of how they can be put into action, and how they can be presented.

Doubters and sceptics do not drown out their voices, neither does the possibility of rejection or dismissal.

They confidently voice their thoughts with illustration, illumination and enlightenment, excited by it even if no one else is. Full place of honour and focus is given to the idea itself, not on the question of the acceptance of it.

Don’t be shy of sharing ideas

Confident leaders do not doubt themselves. Are my ideas good enough, impactful enough, worth something? These self-doubting thoughts take us away from the idea, and focus is then on us.
Let it be about the idea, the thought, the concept, or the view, and not about you. Be excited to share what your mind has created. If you are excited, someone will listen. Your energy will come out in your voice and carriage.

Express with enthusiasm

Your energy is visible and contagious. If you are unsure and hesitant, you will project uncertainty. In that moment, you have lost the audience and diluted the idea, no matter how great it may be.
Practice voice elements of power, pace, inflection and pause by speaking from the heart with a deep desire to share the idea you have.
Speak concisely, highlighting key factors with articulated words and a seamless flow. Allow your body language, your posture, gestures and facial expressions to express your understanding and thought process.

Grow ideas

Expand learning by attending seminars, conferences and reading study material on related topics. Engage in thought-provoking discussions that bring on new perspectives, and develop your own theories.

More leaning will give more competence, and confidence comes from competence. Use these platforms to share your insights with interested audiences. This is how leaders build confidence in others.


Serve a larger vision

Expertise must serve a purpose, to be of use in ways that address some of the questions we are confronted with today.

Those questions may be on the minds of many,
and if you have, in any slightest way, some thought that may be a solution, then it must be heard, so must be voiced. The dismissal of it is to ignore a larger vision, a bigger cause.

Be more than a thought leader. Make an impact as a thought leader. Confidently share your
ideas, consistently answering the questions that come up on the spur of the moment, that expand the thinking of each and every person listening to you. Keep an attitude of learning and become that go- to-expert so that you make an impact and a difference, confidently.


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