Guest Blog: Confident Leaders Stand Out. Do You?

We are excited to welcome leadership coach, Kathy Archer, to the Volunteer Alberta blog! This is the first of a three-part series on leadership in the nonprofit sector.

You know a confident leader when you see one. Their posture, mannerisms, and voice command your attention. Confident leaders can influence a community (of any size or shape) to act.

Working in a nonprofit or charity, your organization is a community that you can move to action. Increasing your confidence will help you shape a team of devoted followers so you can do meaningful work.

3 reasons why growing your leadership confidence is a good idea

1.  Confidence assists your decision-making

leadership 1Big decisions, like applying for funding, must be made decisively. A leader should not waver on when, how, and who is developing the framework and pulling the proposal together. A confident leader selects and delegates these tasks swiftly and succinctly.

Smaller decisions, in many ways, require even more leadership courage. “Do I spend time cleaning up email or head over to the program site?” Without confident awareness, hiding your head in the sand (a.k.a. cleaning out your inbox) will most certainly not ease any staff challenges that may be going on at the site.

A leader who has developed the confidence to address tough staff issues will make the decisions, such as where to focus their time, with more clarity and courage.

2.  Confidence makes it easier to accept feedback

Leadership is synonymous with personal development. Great leaders emerge because they are brave enough to look at their mistakes and to learn from missteps. Growth starts with the capacity to give your attention to the feedback you receive.

Hearing criticism is uncomfortable. It takes courage to hear other people’s opinions openly. Once you learn that receiving feedback won’t kill you, it gives you the self-assurance to course correct and start the cycle all over again. You will be a bit tougher the next time. You will find more and more that rather than reacting with defensiveness, you respond with curiosity and a desire to learn how to improve.

3.  Confidence reassures your team

leadership 1 bA leader who lacks confidence gives off potent vibes that can scream uncertainty. Shaky, hesitant, and non-committal responses leave employees feeling unsure. Uncertainty breeds apprehension amongst workers leading to gossip, low morale, and general dissatisfaction.

Your team looks up to you. Even when it feels like they spend more time tearing you down, the truth is that they are looking to you to provide the stability and composure they crave.

Your job is to be the brave, valiant leader who courageously moves the program forward. While it may not seem like it some days, your employees want to get behind you. They want to follow you. Take their feedback as an empowering message. They want a strong leader to follow, and by speaking up, they are helping to strengthen you.

Leadership Confidence comes from within

To increase your influence and impact, it is imperative that you develop your confidence. Doing this will assist you to make better decisions, accept and respond to feedback effectively, and allow you to reassure your team. In the face of the challenges nonprofit organizations are facing today, these are keys to growth and prosperity.

In next week’s article, you will learn the two habits you need in order to grow your leadership confidence. The following week we will look at growing confidence in your team.

Remember: Emerging as a confident organization will set you apart from the rest.


Kathy is a leadership coach for women who want to strengthen their leadership and find balance in life. She mentors women as they rediscover their purpose, passion, and persistence for life while dealing with office politics, jerk bosses, and the challenges of family life. In her signature program Women with Grit: Leading with Courage & Confidence, Kathy gives her ladies the hope and inspiration they need along with a kick in the pants to make positive change in their lives.