5 Core Qualities of Leadership Confidence

The moment you step up to lead, you immediately discover your level of confidence.

And the question that comes up is why?

  • What causes the difference between writing and preparing a talk, and standing up to deliver it?
  • What causes the difference between the great idea you came up with in your office and presenting it to your board? Maybe it’s a big decision, and you begin to second guess yourself.
  • What causes the difference between your time in prayer and stepping into a conflict-oriented and challenging conversation?

You were confident that you were ready, and God was with you, then something changed. Real-life happened, and your confidence was shaken.

It happens to all of us.

It happens to those who are overconfident as well as those who are underconfident.

The truth is that it’s not just skill and experience that produces your confidence in the natural realm; your confidence is greatly strengthened on the inside at a soul level.

Dr. Sam Chand is a long-time friend and mentor. His story is fascinating as he talks about his leadership journey toward confidence. He was born in India, a pastor’s son, and came to the US for college. Sam started as a dishwasher and cook at the college he attended and ended up as the president of that same college. Sam became a pastor and today is a successful author, change strategist, and sought-after leadership consultant.

Sam has the right stuff on the inside.

He has the five core qualities at a soul level that allow you to possess a deeper sense of confidence in your leadership.

These soul level qualities are not reserved for a few highly gifted and talented leaders. They are available to all of us.

(I tell a fuller version of Sam’s story from an amazing interview with him, in my new book, Confident Leader! There I unpack more content about these five qualities.)

When you meet Sam, the first thing you sense about him is his humility.

And that is the first core quality in the soul of a leader.

5 Core Qualities at a Soul Level:

(These core qualities are a progression. One develops and leads to the next in the order they are presented.)

1) Humility

Cultivating humility is a complex idea.

How much humility is enough?
How does humility fit in with confidence?

Humility isn’t thinking poorly of yourself; it’s thinking honestly about yourself.

Humility isn’t a weakness; it is strength under control. It’s a balance of God’s gifts within you, self-awareness and maturity.

The intent isn’t merely to embrace humility, but also resist pride. Pride blocks humility and causes us to fall.

You can intentionally pursue humility, but you’ll struggle if pride is blocking the way.

Humility sounds like this:

  • I’m sorry.
  • I need your help.
  • Let me serve you.
  • You go first.
  • I don’t understand how to do this.
  • You are right, and I am wrong.
  • Let’s do it your way.
  • Whatever you need.

Trying to be humble isn’t really the goal; that can quickly become less than authentic. It’s more about seeing yourself realistically and putting others before yourself.

Humility sets your soul for a God-based confidence.

Humility leads to gratitude.

2) Gratitude

Humility sets you up for a spirit of gratitude. Humility prepares your heart to be naturally thankful.

When you understand you are a small part of a big world, you are an important part, and you matter, but you’re not the only person; you are poised to be a much more grateful person.

An ungrateful soul is an empty soul because it always wants more.

As leaders, we can be tempted toward a lack of gratitude because of our drive for reaching more people, growing the church, and seeing the mission advance. That’s a good thing, but not if you focus on what you don’t have rather than being grateful for what you do have.

Ungrateful leaders are unhappy leaders, and unhappy leaders are only satisfied with more.

It’s easy to start questioning why God didn’t bless you with more. Instead, tell God daily what you are grateful for, and often tell someone why you appreciate them. Thank them and tell them why.

Gratitude leads to generosity.

3) Generosity

When gratitude is in your soul, you make room for generosity.

When you possess a soul level generosity, you want more for people than you want from them.

You become a more giving leader. It’s not just about money, but also your time, ideas, energy, and love.

Giving becomes a natural part of your life, and you sense no need to keep score.

Giving becomes easy, except perhaps, for the times that you need to make discerning choices about how to direct your generosity.

Generosity is a way of living rather than a specific activity that you practice a few times a month or so.

Generous leaders look for ways to bless others and find great joy in doing so.

Generosity leads to personal security.

4) Security

Generosity flows into and strengthens your security. When you give easily and naturally, you gain a certain freedom to be yourself.

Secure leaders don’t often get caught up in things like people pleasing and performance.

Let me be candid with you. No one wants to follow an insecure leader. All leaders have some insecurity, but that’s different than being an insecure person.

Security comes from knowing who you are in Christ and being self-aware about your gifts and talents.

Being secure in who you are and confident are difficult to separate.

People like you best when you are yourself. Not everyone will like you, but they like you best when you are the real you!

Don’t worry about what people think of you. Consider this, when you lay awake at night thinking or even worrying about it, the other person is snoring.

Security leads to courage.

5) Courage

When you are secure enough to be yourself, you have the freedom to be courageous.

Courage always increases confidence.

When you no longer need to be like someone else, you see no value in pretending, and you no longer waste energy attempting to self-protect, you are positioned for courage.

You are secure in the person God made you to be.

It’s important to know that you can’t jump from humility to courage.

The leap is too far; the chasm is too wide; you’ll fall.

You need the bridge of the three qualities in the middle (gratitude, generosity, and security) to bridge the gap.

They help you make the journey to the courage that enables you to:

  • Have tough conversations
  • Make difficult decisions
  • Take a stand when needed
  • Speak the truth
  • Lead into uncertainty

Courage isn’t always about doing what is big and grand, or before a large crowd, but more about doing the next right thing even when no one is looking.

Courage sometimes includes going alone for a short time, even though others may be willing to go with you. There are times when it’s just you, that’s leadership. That’s courage.

These five core soul level qualities are attainable now but also require a lifetime of intentional pursuit.

They will make a significant difference in your confidence as a leader.

10 thoughts on “5 Core Qualities of Leadership Confidence”

  1. Dan:
    As always spot on!!
    Thank you for your insights, They are both thoughtful and practical. Now since I have been contemplating much about SOUL CARE, what you have written is very significant for me
    Suresh Thomas

  2. Dan, thanks for being to the point and precise in your messages. I seek and pray to exercise these in leading myself, my family, my workplace, and my community.

  3. Mike Martindale

    Wow Dan! What a great encouragement! This was so good I just purchased the book so I can read more 🙂 I also plan to share this with my staff. Thanks!

    1. Hey Mike!

      Thanks for picking g up a copy of my new book! I think you will like it.

      Glad this post was helpful!!

  4. John M Benedetti

    Thank you Dan, as always insightful and a blessing. I appreciate the insight that one cannot jump from humility to courage. I found that to be very true. Blessings

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