How To Be a More Confident Leader

While inspiring those you lead to be confident in themselves

Max Klein
6 min readMay 12, 2021


Credit: El Nariz on Shutterstock

I’ve always loved this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:

“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”

I met some of the greatest leaders in the world as a Marine. And that’s not just hyperbole. I’ve worked with leaders in peacetime and war who have gone on to be key leaders on the world’s stage today.

These leaders, and many everyday junior leaders I’ve worked with, could all do what Eleanor said makes a great leader. This powerful skill multiplied their effectiveness.

So how did they do it?

Well, that’s what this article is about. Both being a more confident leader and building other’s confidence at the same time.

I’ve been studying and practicing leadership for 25 years in various corporate and military settings and I know that being a dealer of confidence is one of those intangibles of leadership that can separate average leaders from excellent ones.

Here are a few points to help you do this.

Make Peace With Decision Ambiguity

Rarely do you know if you are making the right decision when you are making it. That’s why it was a decision in the first place and not an automatic reflex. Being able to operate or even thrive through the discomfort of uncertainty, fear, and ambiguity sets great leaders apart from average ones.

The problem with this ambiguity is that it can sometimes paralyze a leader’s ability to make a decision. The “what-ifs” in decision making are like spices …the right amount brings out the best qualities in your leadership while too many makes it unpalatable.

A leader who can gather info, think, then decide in a timely manner inspires confidence. That leader must also strike a balance between committing to a decision/sticking to it, and adapting/changing the decision if things really are going wrong. Perceiving truth clearly and judging through humble eyes (that acknowledge you could possibly be wrong) can enable this ‘stick to it’ or ‘alter the course’ critical skill.