A Guide for First-Time Managers on Harnessing Conscious Leadership and IntuitionFeatured

As a first-time manager, navigating the complex leadership landscape can be daunting. I know this from my experience and purview as a leadership coach and trainer.

Through the years, I have had the privilege of helping many other high potentials rev up their leadership skills. Regardless of their brilliance or talent, how to feel more confident at work is usually a common topic, especially among women and minorities.

And let’s be honest: confidence is not just a personal attribute, it is a leadership imperative.

According to a study by the Center for Talent Innovation, 57% of employees believe that confidence is the key factor in career advancement*. The same study also reveals that employees who exude confidence are perceived as more competent and more likely to be entrusted with challenging tasks and leadership responsibilities.

Confidence is not only beneficial for individual career progression but also for team productivity. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that leaders who exhibit confidence positively impact team performance, fostering an environment where team members are more engaged and motivated.** Just think about the last time you had to deal with an indecisive leader, how did you feel?

Conscious Leadership: A Path to Confidence

True confidence comes from within, not from the outside. We get validation from the outside world, which helps build a fleeting sense of confidence. However, if we are serious about building true, unshakeable confidence, we must first look inwards, not outwards. Conscious leadership helps you do just that.

What is conscious leadership, exactly? Conscious leadership requires self-awareness and intentionality. Unlike many other leadership styles, conscious leadership is based on introspection, while others focus on external improvements. In short, Conscious leaders create their own authentic operating system and decision-making compass. Conscious leaders can see multiple options, disregard their fear, and adjust their practices to do what is right—choosing the option that is best for all and causes the least pain.

Some of my favorite strategies to cultivate conscious leadership are:

  • Self-Reflection: Take time for introspection to identify your core values, strengths, and areas for improvement. This self-awareness forms the foundation for conscious decision-making.
  • Mindfulness Practices: Incorporate mindfulness techniques into your daily routine. Mindfulness enhances emotional intelligence, allowing you to respond thoughtfully to challenges rather than reacting impulsively.
  • Effective Communication: Practice open and transparent communication. Clearly articulate your expectations. Listen more, speak less, creating a safe space for others to thrive. Actively listen to your team and provide constructive feedback. A conscious leader fosters a culture of trust and collaboration.

Honing Intuition: A Leadership Superpower

Intuition, often underestimated in the business world, is a powerful leadership tool. It involves trusting your instincts and making decisions based on a combination of experience and innate knowledge. To hone your intuition:

  • Journaling: Record your thoughts and decisions regularly. Reviewing your journal entries can reveal patterns and insights, contributing to the development of intuitive skills.
  • Scenario Analysis: Contemplate hypothetical scenarios and practice making quick decisions based on intuition. This analysis exercises your instinctual decision-making muscle.
  • Seek Diverse Perspectives: Surround yourself with diverse voices and opinions. Exposure to varied viewpoints broadens your perspective, enabling you to make more informed and intuitive decisions.
  • Trust Your Gut: Embrace your intuition as a valuable asset. When faced with uncertainty, trust your instincts while considering the available data. Overthinking can lead to indecision, whereas intuition can guide you through ambiguity.

Fitting into the Bigger Picture: Building a Confident and Sustainable Workplace Culture

Developing conscious leadership and intuition among first-time managers is not only about personal growth; it contributes to creating a confident and sustainable workplace culture. Organizations with confident leaders experience higher levels of innovation, collaboration, and employee satisfaction. As first-time managers evolve into conscious leaders, they set the stage for a positive ripple effect, influencing the entire organizational ecosystem.

The journey from a first-time manager to a confident leader is multifaceted. By embracing conscious leadership principles, honing intuition, and committing to continuous self-improvement, new leaders can enhance their personal confidence and contribute to a thriving workplace culture.


*Center for Talent Innovation, "Executive Presence and the Power of Perception," 2012.

**M. Kilduff, D. Galinksy, "The Sparkling Eyes of Leaders: Affective Expressivity as a Source of Leader Emergence and Performance," Journal of Applied Psychology, 2017.