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Riding the Ups and Downs of Leadership Confidence

Riding the Ups and Downs of Leadership Confidence

Roller Coasters take you on a wild ride with unexpected turns, dips, and plunges at high speeds. Even the names of some of the biggest thrillers offer a clue. For example, “The Beast” at Kings Island, in Mason, Ohio travels 65 mph and is 110 ft tall.

If you’re a thrill seeker, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, has a couple wild and crazy coasters just for you. “Nitro” peaks at 80 mph, hitting 230 feet in the air, and “Kingda Ka” launches you at 128 mph, 456 feet straight up and straight back down in 59 seconds.

You might want to eat lunch after these rides.

Like these coasters, ministry leadership can take you on a wild ride too. But when your confidence as a leader begins to mirror the ups and down of those rides, the thrill is quickly gone.

Confidence isn’t a constant, and it’s not guaranteed once you have experienced it. The ups and downs of local church ministry can trigger highs and lows in your confidence as a leader.

Maybe your sermon didn’t have the expected impact, or a board meeting took a difficult turn, or the finances continue on a downward trend. A common story among leaders is how significantly the variations in their Sunday attendance affects their confidence. The “big days” can trigger a sense of overconfidence while “low” Sundays can trigger a lack of confidence. All of these things wreak havoc on your confidence and leave you second-guessing yourself.

The good news is that through a process of intentional development, your confidence can become remarkably consistent and able to weather even the most difficult challenges. My new book Confident Leader!: Become One, Stay One addresses this topic with a three-part practical process of developing an authentic and consistent quality of confidence.

How would you assess your confidence?

Do you lean more toward being overconfident or underconfident? Either one will get you in trouble.

Overconfidence is believing more in your own ability than what God can do in and through you. It can cause haste, lack of preparation, or even arrogance.

Being underconfident is believing less in your own ability than God does, and less in what God can do in and through you. A lack of confidence can cause you to second-guess yourself, struggle with making decisions, and pull back instead of press forward.

The goal is to have a consistent and authentic confidence – one that honors both God and your gifts and abilities.

Authentic confidence begins with accepting and embracing your calling to lead. It’s important that you settle your calling and have a clear sense of God’s direction in order to provide a solid foundation for your confidence.

Embrace your calling:

Your calling to ministry is supernatural, but it’s not a mystery. There are at least three ways you can receive continued confirmation.

  1. God’s clear voice

Nothing beats hearing from God. He is your source and sustenance. He speaks to each of us differently, but we can count on his faithfulness to speak. God never withholds his intent and direction from those who follow him and serve his Church.

  • How do you best hear God’s voice?
  • How do you know it’s His voice?
  • What’s the last thing God told you?
  • Are you engaged in the assignment God has given you?

My calling was more gradual, and it’s changed some over the years as I’ve matured and grown as a leader. Perhaps you knew in an instant. The important thing is that you are clear on his call.

Clarity brings confidence.

Without clarity you are tempted to pull back, often unknowingly, from being all in. That triggers a lessening of passion and joy which further erodes your confidence as a leader.

In contrast, few things boost your confidence more than knowing your intimate walk with God gains his clear voice, and that you’re following to the best of your ability.

  1. Affirmation from leaders above you and those who follow you

My confidence is greatly strengthened by those who believe in me. It’s not dependent upon their belief, but I dream bigger, reach higher, and risk greater with it. If my confidence starts to feel like a roller coaster ride, their belief in me steadies the ups and downs.

My hunch is that you are similar. When someone believes in you it makes all the difference in the world. Further, when the leaders above you genuinely affirm your specific work, your calling continues to receive confirmation. I’m not referring to praise that soothes insecurities, but genuine gratitude from those who appreciate you and your leadership. That form of encouragement provides an extra lift for your confidence as well.

It’s important to listen to the leaders above you. Their responsibility is to invest in your growth and your responsibility is to live up to your potential. It’s an invaluable relationship based on trust. That means you will also sometimes receive needed correction in your coaching, not just affirmation. This is part of how you grow and get better at what you do.

  1. Measurable results of your leadership

The bottom line of results matters. Every leader will hit a batting slump on occasion, but our hope is that overall we see measurably favorable results. This subject can be tricky, even sensitive, so let’s unpack it some.

First, when it comes to results not everything can be reduced to numbers. Ultimately, it’s about life change. The priority of life change is salvation, but it also includes a wide variety of transformational evidence like a redeemed marriage or freedom from addiction. While those aren’t necessarily numbers, each one is a story and that is easy to measure. With life change always in mind, we are then more freed up to include numeric measurement. What’s growing and what isn’t? It’s not so much about success as it is stewardship.

God has given you talent and opportunity. Your responsibility is to do your best with it – no matter the highs and lows that come your way. And at the end of the day when you place your head on your pillow, your confidence can rest in knowing you’ve done your best.

How to Use This Book

In Confident Leader!, Dan Reiland draws from his 39 years of leadership experience to share a practical, workable, and transformational process that results in your ability to become a more self-assured leader and achieve maximum success. Building unshakable confidence will positively impact your personal work performance, your belief in self, your support and approval from others, and your trust and reliance on God. Learn more at ChurchSource by clicking here.