I’m about halfway through Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, which details the history of Abraham Lincoln, his rise to the presidency, and his relationships with the men who vied with him for prominence and then served on his cabinet.
As I read the story, I see two things about Lincoln’s unique style of leadership:
- He didn’t care who got the credit and didn’t care if he took the blame.
- He wasn’t the least bit afraid to grant important roles to people who disagreed with him or to people who, at least on the surface, were more gifted or more accomplished.
I admire both of those traits, and as a leader I try to emulate them. It occurs to me that they’re found only in leaders who have a great amount of self-confidence. I know that when my self-confidence wavers, that’s when I try to claim the glory or shift the blame; that’s when I feel threatened by the accomplishments of those around me.
When my self-confidence is strongest, it’s when I trust my ability, my knowledge, and my intuition. It’s when respected colleagues express faith in me. And it’s when I remember the words of the apostle Paul: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
As a leader, from what sources do you draw self-confidence?