In my work as a Leadership and Career Coach for high-performing women leaders, the most common reason my clients seek out coaching is to build their overall leadership confidence. The key to developing more confidence is by becoming an authentic leader because when you act in accordance with your personal truth, values, and beliefs you will naturally lead with ease and clarity. Authentic and confident leaders are in tune with their intuition, which allows them to make better decisions, solve complex problems, and find innovative solutions to challenges quickly. When you remain in touch with your intuition and who you are, this confidence will carry you through even the most challenging of times.

So, how can you develop yourself into a confident and authentic leader? I have cultivated the following 3-steps from my experience as both a researcher and a leadership coach for high-performing female leaders. Without these foundational strategies it will be very difficult to have the confidence to adequately grow other key leadership skills such as the Ability to Influence Others, Negotiation Skills, Giving and Receiving Feedback, and Priority Management (to name just a few).

Step 1: Build Your Resilience

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. To be resilient is to possess a blend of toughness and elasticity. The #1 most important tool that will help you overcome leadership challenges and professional setbacks is your ability to be resilient. Research indicates that creating a resiliency-building routine prevents depression, anxiety, stress, and burn-out. By building your resilience, you nurture and take care of yourself, so you can be fully present for the others in your life that rely on you such as your team, your clients, your children, your partner, or your friends.

Step 2: Identify Your Emotional Triggers and Be Able to Thoughtfully Respond (Rather than React) to Them

Emotional triggers are stimuli received from external circumstances such as the words or opinions of others, events, or situations. These triggers provoke an instant and intense emotional reaction in the receiver that can be difficult to control.

By increasing your self-awareness around your triggers, you can learn to regulate them so that you can respond thoughtfully to the external world, triggered or not. When you increase your self-awareness and self-regulation around your emotional triggers, you will be open to receive important feedback from others. People will not be afraid to give you constructive feedback because they will not fear your reaction. Cultivating the ability to choose purposeful responses as opposed to immediate, often impulsive reactions, exudes leadership stability and confidence. Ask yourself– What situations or relationships could be improved in my life with more trigger awareness and regulation?

Step 3: Setting and Maintaining Boundaries

Boundaries are guidelines, rules, or limits that identify reasonable, safe, and permissible methods for others to behave towards you. They delineate how you will respond when those boundaries are crossed.

As a leader, your most powerful tool is your intuition. Setting and maintaining boundaries will allow you to consistently act in accordance with your intuition. When you set boundaries, you will let-go of the people pleasing mindset. The people pleasing mindset is the most common road block for developing confidence as an authentic leader. Additionally, setting clear boundaries prevents stress and burn-out.

Research indicates that it’s EQ, not IQ that is the greater predictor of leadership success. If you can first develop the leadership foundation described here and increase your confidence and EQ, then you have the capacity to focus and fully develop the other important leadership skills. For more tips on developing these 3 leadership confidence building blocks, download my Free Leadership Guide: 3 Steps to Becoming a Confident Leader.


  • Adrienne Partridge, Ph.D

    Leadership & Career Coach

    Adrienne Partridge, Ph.D -- Leadership & Career Coach--is on a mission to accelerate the growth and advancement of leaders and for the companies in which they work. A self-proclaimed data nerd and fact-finder coupled with a mischievous and curious spirit, Dr. Partridge has an uncanny ability to unleash and develop the authentic leader within individuals. She coaches individuals experiencing career transitions and specializes in developing and coaching high-potential female leaders. By coaching leaders to discover and develop their authentic leadership style, Dr. Partridge guides her clients to reflect and act as the best version of themselves in their careers and lives. This increases their efficiency, influence, and visibility as leaders. Dr. Partridge works with corporate teams to optimize team performance, productivity, and innovation. She facilitates individual and group leadership coaching programs and workshops. Certified in a variety of personality, leadership, and career assessments, Dr. Partridge leverages her ability to interpret the results in her coaching and consulting work. Dr. Partridge also has a special interest and expertise in coaching women who want to go back to work or have recently returned to work after stay-at-home motherhood. Her doctoral dissertation, From career woman to stay-at-home mother and back again: Understanding the choices mothers make, examined mother’s decisions and experiences related to career transitions and family situation. She earned her Ph.D in Organizational Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Partridge is a regular contributor on TV as Fox31 Denver’s Personal Growth Expert on Colorado’s Everyday Show. She writes for The Huffington PostThrive Global, and is also a columnist for Inc. Magazine, writing a column called "Growth Through Authentic Leadership". She has also been featured in U.S. News & Report. Dr. Partridge is based out of Boulder, Colorado and is an avid skier, road biker, and lover of the outdoors.