man sitting on chair beside laptop computer and teacup

I’m a firm believer that a strong personal brand and public image are crucial to a manager’s career success.

So, whether you’re managing a team or running your own business, cultivating a personal brand that stands out among the sea of managers will enable you to build a stronger business relationship with the team.

And that, in turn, will allow you to bring your true self to work every day.

In my case, I’ve been managing a team since I founded Big Fish in 2010.

I’ve built a strong team of over two dozen employees and, based on my personal experience, I believe certain aspects can help you build confidence as a manager:

Set aside time to read

Model: @Austindistel

Photographer: @breeandstephen

“If you invest in yourself, you will reap the rewards.” – Oprah Winfrey

When it comes to reading and self-development, one of the best ways to improve your leadership skills is to regularly step outside your comfort zone and expose yourself to new things.

This may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s crucial. It can give you a whole new way of thinking.

Instead of just reading business books or starting your day with your favorite daily newspaper, start by reading a book on self-development or embark on a self-help course.

I’ve found it quite helpful to read motivational books about developing your self-confidence.

I’ve learned a lot from books like Overcoming Rejection by Phyllis Weinstein and You’re Already Amazing by Mel Robbins.

These books have provided me with great life lessons and have helped me understand that I’m already amazing.

Read books that offer ways to improve your leadership skills.

You’ll see an improvement in your confidence as you read these books and the more you read, the better you become as a manager.

You’ll also be able to leverage that improvement into your professional life.

Set yourself goals

“Every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

It’s very important to set goals. Goals are what will make you successful in life and set the tone for your future.

As a manager, you’re responsible for making sure your team members are equipped with the resources and skills to achieve their goals.

So, every morning when you start your day, why not set a personal goal for yourself? It can be a simple goal like spending more time with your family.

It can be a more ambitious goal like reaching a certain level of your sales quota for the day. The important thing is that you set a goal.

However, what I’ve learned from both my personal experience and from coaching hundreds of managers is that you can’t just set one goal for yourself and forget about the rest.

The real challenge is to set several goals for yourself, weekly, monthly, yearly, or even lifetime.

The goals will help you identify what you need to achieve to become more successful.

The same applies to your team. The key is to set a goal for your team that makes them realize how important they are to your success.

Take risks

“Life’s biggest risks are often not worth taking.” – Albert Einstein

As a leader, you’re responsible for creating an environment where your team members can make mistakes.

Just as an investor wants to make the right investment, a manager wants to create a work environment where the team members can make mistakes and learn from them.

There’s no need to be perfect. The idea is that every mistake you make teaches you something and will make you a better manager in the long run.

Taking risks is one of the most important aspects of becoming a better leader. When you take a risk, you must be prepared to pay the price and you must keep focused on the goal.

When you manage a team, you need to be there for them.

In some situations, taking a risk might not be the right decision.

But you should always stick to your plan. It is the quality of your decisions that determines your outcome.

Be assertive and consistent in your leadership

Speaking up often enough will help you develop a good understanding of how people interpret what you say, and what they hear in your voice.

Recognize that when you make an assertion or a point, you should be able to back it up – and also be able to show where you have been misunderstood or unclear about something.

It can also be useful to think about your own level of confidence, and how far you can push it.

By creating a baseline of your own standards for yourself – whether that’s the extent to which you are bold, assertive, or comfortable with calling people out – you can then compare this with how others judge you.

Once you know where you fall on this spectrum, then you can start to develop the skills and habits that will help you achieve a higher level of performance and a higher level of confidence.

It can take a while to build these skills, so don’t expect overnight results. But even just a few small, deliberate actions can help you to build a foundation that you can build on.

Build your competence

unknown persons using computer indoors

To help you build your confidence, develop your competency as a manager.

You must know how to work effectively with others and communicate with your team effectively.

A lot of what you need to know is covered by the “soft skills” that people are commonly encouraged to learn before starting a new job, including the ability to listen, to lead without authority, and to establish and maintain productive working relationships.

You also need to know how to work effectively, including with short deadlines and limited resources.

But none of this is written in stone. You don’t have to have all the answers, and you don’t have to feel like you are better than anybody else.

If you can develop the skills to work with people, build relationships, and become more comfortable with communicating, then you can be a manager who is respected and effective.