From left: Lucy Nwachukwu of News Agency of Nigeria and Principal Consultant, Mike O. Onyeka & Associates, Sam Onyeka PhD. At the event.
A top leadership expert has urged brokers to invest in confidence-building, saying a lack of self-assurance often holds professionals back from reaching their full potential.
“Very few people succeed in business without a degree of confidence,” says Festus Onwe, a prominent expert in the Insurance Industry and Director ICT, RIFAN.
“Confidence helps us maximise our potential,” he continues. “Without it, we can get the job done and be very competent in doing so but with it, we set our bar higher, believe more things are possible, we can have more impact and be more successful.”
According to Festus, confidence is particularly important when it comes to moving into more senior roles and professionals suffering from insecurity will often find themselves overlooked for a promotion.
“Often confidence gives you the ability to first put your hand up for that more senior role and then be successful at nailing the selection process,” he tells RIFAN News.
“Without it, you may have all the competence and skills required to do the job but just never feel ready to go for it,” he continues. “Without confidence, you can give up too easily, refuse to believe an opportunity is possible and, therefore, make limiting decisions about what you do and how you do it.”
Of course, Festus – who has works with Anchor Insurance, a top corporate insurance giants acknowledges that everyone goes through periods where their confidence level dips.
“This can happen whether you are just entering your professional life, or you are highly experienced,” he tells RIFAN News. “No-one is immune to these bouts of insecurity at work.”
While fluctuating levels of confidence can be expected, Festus says it’s a complete myth that confidence is a personality trait that some people just naturally possess.
“Often people think of confidence as something that the lucky few are born with and the rest are left wishing for,” says Festus. “This simply is not true.”
Instead, Festus insists that confidence is learnable and outlines four key areas that brokers should focus on in order to build confidence for sustainable success.
- Show up as the real you and the best version of you
- Stand up for yourself, your team, your values and your point of view
- Speak up and have a voice and be able to influence
- Step up your performance and your impact
“With consistent effort, and the courage to take a risk, we can gradually expand our confidence and, with it, our capacity to build more of it,” he says.
However, as most people are aware, there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness – stray too far and it’s unlikely that clients will appreciate the unnecessary bravado. So, how can brokers be sure they don’t cross that line?
“Having the ability to ‘show up’ with real confidence means you know yourself, you can be yourself and you show up as the best version of yourself,” says Festus. “Real confidence is about the ability to be authentic and vulnerable – not about bravado and cockiness. This is work that requires a good level of self-awareness and people that you trust giving you feedback along the way.”
Festus also says it’s important that brokers regularly reflect on what is most important to them – their values, purpose and beliefs.
“Reflect on the decisions you are making and whether your behaviour is in line with your values,” he says. “And finally, what impact are you having on those around you, and what feedback have you received?”