Self-confidence is a belief in oneself to be able to achieve goals and objectives. This self-confidence or self-esteem comes from inside each of us. However, many of the individuals I’ve talked with believe self-confidence is the “the greatest single barrier to leadership for girls.” Several studies show that girls' self-esteem and self-confidence tends to decline after about age nine as girls enter puberty.
Timothy Judge, et al. (2002) contends that self-confidence is “an indicator of low neuroticism and is predictive of leadership. [Neuroticism is defined as] representative of the tendency to exhibit poor emotional adjustment and experience negative affects, such as anxiety, insecurity, and hostility” (p. 767). Although there is contention as to whether it is an inherent trait or a learned skill, self-confidence is a vital quality of a leader and this belief is supported by literature, theory and practice.
- Provide positive role models
- Promote a healthy body image
- Recommend participation in new activities (i.e. hobbies)
- Support their interests
- Grant them the opportunity to share in planning and decision-making
- Actively listen to them
- Provide a safe environment
- Teach them to give genuine compliments and receive compliments
Peter Northouse (2004) describes the importance of self-confidence as “a trait that helps an individual be a leader … [by possessing] the ability to be certain about one’s competencies and skills … where one believes that she or he can make a difference and be an influence to others” (p. 19). As a parent of a beautiful young woman, I’m going to do all I can to ensure her self-confidence level is a healthy one. I’m envisioning her making a difference in our world. Join me by doing all you can to aid in developing your daughters, granddaughters, nieces and student’s self-confidence. The success of our world is depending on it.