The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards
they set for themselves.
My recent research revealed that affirmation plays a critical role in building leadership confidence, and confidence gives leaders the boost they need to lean into their potential. As we set standards and develop characteristics to guide our leadership, it feels good to have others recognize these qualities. Affirmation acknowledges the diversity of leadership skills and experiences we have developed, validates their value, and provides impetus for continued growth. High standards yield extraordinary results in us and in others.
It is important to recognize the value of affirmation and build it into our leadership practices. However, some environments make it difficult to find someone willing to tell us how wonderful we are at leadership or anything else. Sometimes affirmation must come from within. Bradley Cooper was asked in a recent interview whether he was angry because he did not receive an Oscar nomination for directing A Star is Born. His answer was no, because he knew “he had done good work.” Bradley Cooper did not need affirmation from others to value the work he had done. He knew it was good and he was proud of it.
Although I’m not an Oscar nominated actor, I had a similar experience when I recently defended my dissertation. Rather than deflect and play down the congratulations I received from others, I found it easy to simply say thank you. I worked hard for this, and I believe in it.
Setting high standards for your work and leadership sets an example for others to follow. It feels good to have others affirm these standards, but doing high quality, good work feels great too. Remember, recognize and affirm potential in others, but appreciate your own good work as well. And when necessary …
Give Yourself Your Own Gold Star!