How to Add Confidence in Your Leadership


How to Add Confidence in Your Leadership-by Doug Fields

There is a big difference between being cocky and being confident.
Good leaders are confident. Not cocky, but confident…there’s a big difference.

Confident leaders project a sense of where they want to go, how to get there, and what to do when obstacles arrive.

Most of are looking to follow confident leaders. We want to follow them to places that engage our trust. We naturally follow confidence.

This isn’t simply a leadership principle from the latest business book, it’s been around along time. We are created by God to recognize and follow confidence. Understanding how confidence “works” can become a powerful tool to create community and move teenagers toward spiritual maturity.

Confidence isn’t simply the opposite of humility (that would be pride and arrogance). Instead, confidence is the byproduct of the spiritual life, a heart devoted to God’s ways, a sincere obedience

This week, we’re going to look at some ideas for how you can add confidence to your leadership. It’s our prayer that these youth ministry nuggets would be a blessing to your ministry and other youth ministry friends.

PURSUE REAL CONFIDENCE (don’t look to appear confident)

Real confidence begins with the pursuit to actually be confident and not just appear confident. There are many leaders who work hard to project confidence, and many experience short term “results.” However, that type of acting creates an inner hole that is never filled. Fears actually multiply every time the fake leader thinks, “If they only knew the whole story…” It’s better to pursue being confident and avoid being a “whitewashed tomb” that may fool others, but doesn’t fool God or oneself.

People follow confident leaders.

We’re passionate about this topic because we see so many great leaders who lack confidence and many others who lead people astray with fake confidence. With a few simple commitments and a lot of hard work, confidence can characterize any Christ-follower’s leadership.


If it’s been a while since you’ve struggled with your own sin, you have bigger problems than your leadership to solve. Honest struggle against sin makes you more real to the people you are leading. Our struggle with sin will, at times, reveal the need for confession. Confession is a spiritual discipline, it’s an act of obedience that restores our relationships with God and others. Confession leads to humility, and humility is a necessary component of confidence. Confidence without humility is arrogance.

DON’T SAY SORRY (unless you need to)

Great leaders know how to apologize! Sincere apology is a natural bi-product of humility and authenticity. All leaders are fallible and no one makes all the right calls all the time. A godly leader needs to know when to apologize, and when not to apologize.

Leaders say sorry “too much,” when they believe they’re right but apologize to un-ruffle the feathers of those who disagree.

Too many “sorry’s” is a symptom of a deeper problem: this leader fears the disapproval of others.

Say sorry less often by adjusting your thinking: leadership causes conflict. It’s not possible to lead others without occasionally facing disagreement. Speak plainly and apologize when you mean it, when you’ve made a mistake. Fake, insincere, fear of disapproval type of apologizes is evidence of eroded confidence and weakens the power of a heartfelt apology.


Every human is an original masterpiece, created by God for good things. When we honestly believe and accept this theological truth, we will look to explore our strengths. Thankfully, we can rely on God’s grace in our weakness, but we are called to serve from our strengths. If you’re an eye, be an eye! Stop trying to be a foot! We all have weak areas and those weak areas are good for humility and relationships with others.

Calling is a powerful building block for confidence. We are confident when we are living out the calling God has placed in our lives. Our time is well spent when we discover the passions God has placed within our hearts. It’s impossible to be genuinely passionate about everything!


Impulsive leadership lacks actual confidence and can only have the appearance of confidence. Paralyzed leadership lacks both. Confidence comes from the right amount of careful thought. If you are often surprised by the outcomes of your decisions, our guess is that you may be too impulsive. If you’re decisions are delayed without solid reasons, then you maybe over-thinking it.


This leadership axiom has lost some of its power since it’s reached cliché status. However, fundamentals are foundations to build on, not starting lines to leave behind as you chase the goal. Take time to pause and reflect. Pay attention to stuff that works, and stuff that doesn’t work. Greater understanding leads to greater confidence.

Doug Fields has been in youth ministry since 1979 and former pastor to students at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He’s the author of more than 40 books, including the best-selling Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry and Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry and is the founder of Simply Youth Ministry. Doug is most comfortable hanging out with his family and drinking diet Pepsi.

More from Doug Fields or visit Doug at


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