How a Leader’s Self-Doubt Affects Employee Engagement

When leaders start to doubt themselves, their initial reaction often is to doubt others, too. This is the basis for losing mutual trust between leaders and employees.

In the corporate world today, the role of self-confidence and high self-esteem cannot be overestimated. Self-esteem actually refers to satisfaction and confidence in one’s self. But this is something that looks to be in short supply in today’s world. Unfortunately, social media plays a huge role in taking people’s self-esteem away without them realizing it. Many people look to social media for what their ideal lifestyle should be like. In the long run, this erodes the confidence and satisfaction they have in themselves and how they have lived their lives. And pressure from peers and followers increases self-doubt.

For leaders in a corporate organization, it is without saying that one of the most effective tools for success is confidence. Confidence first in yourself. Then confidence in your employees and confidence in your organization to outdo your competition. When leaders start to lack this key ingredient and doubt themselves, it ultimately affects their employees. Their level of engagement drops.

Employee engagement refers to the amount of passion employees have for their job. It determines their level of commitment to the organization and how much effort they’re willing to put into the job. This is different from employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction is a measure of how contented employees are at the workplace. It doesn’t address their motivation or commitment to the job, which employee engagement does. Employee satisfaction can come from regular paychecks, even if they aren’t as committed to the job.

Employee engagement largely depends on mutual trust. Leader have to trust employees to put their hearts into their work. And employees must trust their leaders to be able to lead them right, and make decisions that work in everyone’s best interest. When trust is lost, productivity will be affected.

When someone starts to doubt themself, their initial reaction is to doubt others, too. This is the basis for losing the mutual trust between leaders and employees. Leaders no longer trust employees because they don’t trust themselves. Employees, in turn, no longer trust leaders because they don’t trust their employees. What follows is a lack or loss of passion for the job. The level of commitment from employees drops. Leader are unable to motivate employees any longer because of a lack of mutual trust.

Getting Your Self-Confidence Back

Self-doubt in a leader kills the organization faster than you can imagine. It’s true that everyone has different points in their lives when they struggle with certain things. It’s especially difficult for leaders. You’d expect them to have that assertiveness and self-assurance about them. But they’re humans, too, and we all struggle with one thing or the other, one way or the other.

Self-doubt is like an infection. It can flow from the leader down to the least member of the group. That’s why leaders must know how to manage their insecurities and prevent them from flowing down to their subordinates.

Here are some few things to note if you need to get your self-confidence back as a leader:

  • You’re not the first to experience this situation.

That might not sound like the lift you need, but it’s something you have to know. You’re not the first leader experiencing self-doubt. As a matter of fact, there are many more leaders experiencing self-doubt than you can think of. It’s a common occurrence. It only makes you human. If you have to lead a group of people to achieve a particular goal, it’s only human to self-doubt, and ask questions of yourself. It happens to even the most successful and capable leaders. It’s one phase in leadership that you go through. You’re not alone. Doubting yourself doesn’t make you any less capable—unless you really aren’t.

  • You’re about to break through.

There are times when we suffer breakdowns just before we break through. We all go through low points in our lives. These are times when we sit back, and make the right adjustments that we need to continue our development. You shouldn’t feel frustrated about your self-doubt. Instead, sit back and try to understand the situation. Take your lessons from this tough period and treat the struggle as a platform for your future success.

  • Don’t go through your struggles alone.

This is one mistake most people make. It’s OK to mask your struggles from your employees, but this doesn’t mean you have to go through your struggles all by yourself. You should have people around you who trust you and believe in you. Having these people to guide you and lead you are your best bets to restoring your own self-confidence. When you keep your struggles to yourself, it’s easier for them to overcome you, and you will sink faster than you should. Keep people around you who have faith in you and let them help you through it. Once you’ve passed this stage, you might be in the position to help others in the future.

  • Change your own ways.

If you can’t change the surrounding situation, maybe it’s time for you to change how you do certain things. Maybe it’s time to become more diligent about what you do. Discipline yourself more and be more focused on what you’re doing. This will create a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-confidence over time. You should work on yourself while you seek external help.

Tobias Foster has more than five years of experience working as a journalist and an editor. He has mastered his craft in writing and providing assignment writing services. He also has a wealth of knowledge in other fields such as business, marketing, and philosophy.