I’ve never been in a leadership position before. How do I get my team to trust my leadership? How do I get employees to follow me?


First, recognize that your fears are perfectly normal and understandable. Every leader and executive I’ve coached during the last 12 years, even executives who have taken extensive leadership classes, sometimes worry about how to get people to trust and follow them.


If you explore biographies of the most successful leaders at the highest levels of organizations, you’ll read that they often complained, “It’s lonely at the top!” because they feared employees wouldn’t agree with their decisions. They dreaded both passive-aggressive and open resistance. Leaders know they can lose their positions if disgruntled teams don’t trust their leadership.

Leaders in mid-management are sometimes afraid to express their insecurities to the people who will eventually evaluate their performance, “If I let them know I’m not 100% confident, I’ll cause them not to trust me. They’ll be biased when they evaluate me. Sometimes I feel like I’m sandwiched between a suspicious supervisor and direct reports who don’t trust me.”


New leaders and emerging leaders are sometimes tormented by a demeaning inner voice referred to as “the impostor syndrome critic.” This voice causes you to self-criticize, “How can I lead when I don’t know everything there is to know? If I’m not perfect, I can never be a good leader.”

Effective leadership is about empowering your team to do their best and to creatively face challenges. It is not about having personally mastered every detail of your industry or profession. Successful leadership is about developing and practicing excellent listening skills. It is not about micromanaging your team members, disempowering them by endlessly instructing them regarding what to do and how to accomplish their tasks. It is about serving as an enthusiastic resource so everyone can gain answers to tough questions.

Although during coaching, we’ll explore your industry-specific skillset so you can continuously improve it, this article addresses your question about the self-doubt and confidence issues of a new leader. Instead of feeling paralyzed by fear, you can use coaching as a proven tool that helps leaders move forward with confidence, clear vision, competence and passion, so you and your team can achieve remarkable results.

Coaching will help you fully explore your core leadership strengths. Similar to when you do a new physical exercise and feel muscles you hadn’t noticed so you can take steps to grow stronger, coaching will help you unveil potential strengths that are essential for your new leadership position. Your leadership confidence will soar when you discover your dormant possibilities while you develop a solid action plan to compensate for your weaknesses.


Because people trust people who believe in themselves and their vision, we need to explore your ideal vision of yourself as a leader. Let’s also unpack your goals for your team. We’ll use a proven process in which your mission and vision will become so crystal clear that your fears fade into the background like feathers blowing away in a hurricane. You’ll become so grounded in passion and confidence regarding why you want to accomplish your goals that your team will surround you with support.

We need to explore your inner critic so you can turn this confidence destroyer into a helpful source of achievement energy. Because self-awareness is one of the most critical components of leadership, coaching will help you understand exactly what triggers your negative internal voice when it insults you with nasty, confidence-draining comments like, “You’ll fail”, “You’re not good enough,” “You don’t know enough,” and “They won’t trust you.”

Most high achievers and almost all emerging leaders have an inner critic that can be quite vocal because achievers have a passion to excel. Successful leaders have learned to thrive by taking intelligent risks and building their confidence with focused action. They have learned how to harness the powerhouse of energy available from their inner critic. Instead of struggling with your inner critic or trying to get rid of it (which backfires and empowers negative self-talk), you can learn how to effectively use it.

Mastering your inner critic will significantly enhance your leadership abilities, including enhancing the trust of those you lead. Instead of worrying about making mistakes or judging yourself harshly when you do, you’ll accept your humanity and move forward. This level of self-acceptance will also ensure that you spend most of your energy empowering the people who report to you instead of stewing about their mistakes.

You can watch a video about how to effectively work with your inner critic, “Conquer Your Inner Critic”
on this website .


You’ll be able to calm and inspire team members once you discover what tends to trigger your automatic reactions to certain challenges or questions that can feel threatening. Your leadership confidence will soar once you discover how to calm your sympathetic nervous system and transform a human fight-or-flight response into your calm, objective “observer self”.

Coaching will also help you more fully understand your values and personality style. Then you can easily prevent conflicts with people who have conflicting values and personality characteristics that would otherwise irritate you like the sound of fingernails scraping a chalkboard. You’ll discover how to save your precious internal energy by “picking your battles” instead of trying to change what you cannot affect.

You see how coaching will help you gain the self-awareness that is essential if you want to avoid common leadership traps, especially the dangers of self-deception. After fully exploring your core assets, goals and values, you’ll finally be connected to Your True Self. Your elevated level of self-acceptance will ensure that you’re much more comfortable genuinely accepting and connecting with your team members.

I’m eager to help you explore your innate strengths and overcome your fears so you can trust yourself in your new leadership position and enjoy the trust and support of your team members. Confidence vanishes when a leader is not authentic or is out of alignment with their values and beliefs. That’s why I use proven coaching tools that help you discover your innate personal leadership style.

You’ll clearly determine how you want to show up as a leader, so you can confidently live this vision. Because your values and ethics will define you, your authenticity will inspire your team.

Are you ready to substitute confidence and enthusiasm for self-doubt? Just complete the short application form on this website so I can contact you for a complimentary 20-minute consultation. If we decide we’re a good fit as client and coach, we’ll discuss a coaching agreement. I look forward to helping you gain the confidence to build a team that trusts, respects and supports your leadership vision and goals.

Author's Bio: 

© 2019 Doris Helge, Ph.D. Interviewed on “The Today Show,” CNN and NPR. Author of three bestselling books, including “Joy on the Job.” Certified Master Leadership Coach Doris Helge has helped people like you meet every challenge you’re facing. Discover all the resources you need here now!