What makes a good leader? Various research identifies certain traits that help set good leaders apart; integrity, empathy, vision, focus etc. But without one fundamental element then these skills remain redundant. A good leader has to believe in themselves, and in turn inspire belief in others. That’s the game changer.

Increasing self-belief or self-confidence is often the key to unlocking potential for many leaders. We see this firsthand through our 10-month long leadership development programme for owner-managers and directors - LEAD™ - which aims to help people to become the best leaders they can be.

Some of those who work with us on LEAD™ don’t even recognise themselves as leaders, or don’t feel that they are ready to lead when the reality is, they are already doing just that. By bringing together peers from other companies to learn, share, reflect and support one another as they work on real life business issues they feel better equipped, and more confident, to deal with whatever is thrown at them. They inspire belief in one another.

For Julia Russell, Director, Bowland Stone, the experience truly supported her leadership development; "Since LEAD™ my confidence as a leader has grown and developed to a level I never expected. I wasn’t expecting to come away with a completely different perspective of leadership and belief in myself."

Martin Spray CBE, CEO, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust also notes the transformation around self-confidence; “LEAD™ has been a lifechanger in terms of how I run my organisation. It has made me more self-aware and self-reflective. I am aware of some things that I was not doing right and many things that I was pleased to be doing right. It has increased my confidence and I am now starting to develop the organisation in a very different way.”

Stopping to reflect on your skills and attributes as a leader, and being willing to work on those areas that you wish to improve, reveals practical, actionable steps. This is where feedback from peers is particularly beneficial and what we find works really well on LEAD™. Here leaders feel comfortable to be able to openly discuss issues with like-minded individuals, often gaining reassurance by the commonality of the situation and support from those who have also ‘been through it’.

Paul Bence, Managing Director, George Bence & Sons, found this process especially rewarding – feedback from his peers inspired belief in him to make the necessary organisational changes; “It's amazing the confidence, capability and know-how that I have obtained through LEAD™.”

For Don Robins, Managing Director, Printwaste Recycling & Shredding, increasing his self-confidence inspired belief in his Senior Management Team, giving them the confidence to take on more responsibility; “For me, the driving force for coming on LEAD™ was to make sure I secured the next stages of growth by developing my middle management and leading them.”

This rings true with the quote from John Quincy Adams; “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

This article was first published in the Gloucester Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo on Thursday 17th October and is part of the Game Changer series.

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