Leaders are confident. Confidence is the outward manifestation of your trust in yourself. It is an essential ingredient for leadership. When you trust yourself, people trust you. When they do, they will follow and work with you. That doesn’t mean you believe you are always right. You can question your original decision and/or get feedback from others. But you are still confident and recognized as such.
You need confidence when you propose a new program. You need confidence to deal with students who are acting out. You need confidence when you make changes to the facilities in the library. You need confidence to face challenges to your collection. You need confidence to grow. And if you are not growing, you are dying.
But how do you develop confidence? The Indeed Editorial Team gives some helpful recommendations in Building Self-Confidence: 10 Ways to Boost Your Confidence.
- Attend professional development training – The more you know, the more confident you will feel. Going to your state’s school library conference is an important investment in yourself. In addition to the specific knowledge you gain, you also develop a vocabulary that shows you are informed about the topic. The added benefit of attending PD sessions is the connections you make. Building relationships with other librarians is as important as building relationships with people in your building. They are potential mentors, people with whom you can safely vent, and sources of advice and experience.
- Learn new skills – Similar to the first, but this can also refer to choosing a specific course or topic. For example, you may feel you could use more help with time management. Or you want to learn more coding so that you can make recommendations to students and teachers. Searching online for some training in this area will make you feel more knowledgeable and therefore more confident.
- Dress for success – This outward step has an important impact on your inner self-assurance. Your dress affects your attitude and mindset. Think of elementary kids on picture day. When they are dressed up, they behave much better. When considering this, make sure your clothing does not restrict you from being able to do your job comfortably. If your day requires you to sit on the floor or a low chair, keep that in mind. The way you are dressed transmits a silent subconscious message to others while potentially empowering you.
- Leave your comfort zone – Almost everything on this list asks you to take this step. It is key to professional growth. Giving your first presentation is scary. Getting through it is an enormous confidence boost. The Indeed Editorial Team also notes that doing something like a presentation can open the door to new opportunities. Someone in the audience might note something that suggests a new direction. Confidence lies outside of your comfort zone.
- Emulate confident peers – Look for role models. Who do you know who appears confident? How do they do it? The authors of the article suggest observing how these people interact with others and incorporating some of their strategies.
- Set goals for yourself – As with #2, start with something you want to learn or do and set small goals on your path to achieving it. Each goal you reach builds your confidence and keeps you going.
- Focus on your strengths – There are things you already do well. Can you do them better or can you use these skills more? Don’t look for perfection. Keep your focus on improvement Indeed recommends keeping a list of your achievements. (I keep a journal of what I accomplish each day.)
- Learn from your mistakes – Mistakes are a good thing – even though they don’t feel that way in the moment. They are part of growing. Mistakes give you information on what’s not working so you can do things differently. Use this information to move forward.
- Eliminate negative language – Notice how you treat yourself. We tend to be our own harshest critics. Change that mindset and look to what your accomplishments are and the goals you are working toward. Keeping that journal will help.
- Ask questions – Questions are another important part of the growth process. Pretending you understood everything someone said keeps you uninformed. Everything around us is changing at a faster rate than ever. One way to stay on top of what you need to know is by asking questions.
The Indeed Editorial Team had 3 final tips:
- Take your time,
- Be persistent, and
- Keep developing your mindset.
I would add to that: Keep growing; Recognize the value you bring, and Build your PLN. With practice and awareness, confidence is there for you.