Amy Ritman, Impact Director / 06 February 2024

Common Purpose’s COMPASS Guide: Unpacking Confidence

Confidence is so key in your leadership journey that we've made it the North Star of COMPASS, one of the five core principles of the Common Purpose Leadership Model.


70% of us are likely to experience imposter syndrome at some point in our lives. It’s a sobering stat, and it proves that if you have low confidence in yourself, you’re certainly not alone – but more importantly, you don’t have to continue feeling this way.

Confidence is crucial to career success, and it plays a significant role at every stage of your career and leadership journey. It’s so key in fact that we’ve made it one of the five core principles of the Common Purpose Leadership Model, the North star of COMPASS, our framework for developing good leaders.

There are many ways to build confidence, and at Common Purpose, we support and encourage participants to  develop the self-belief, self-awareness, and humility they need to be truly effective leaders.


Confidence in your own abilities is crucial to good leadership. Leaders with confidence believe in themselves, in their voice, and in their ideas. They believe that they bring a unique perspective and can add real value, that they deserve their place at the table.

Confident to be their authentic selves, they know it’s ok to not always be right and can admit when they don’t have all the answers. Unafraid to fail, with the mindset to learn and grow from these mistakes, a confident leader is not afraid to show their vulnerabilities and ask for help when needed.

Those lacking confidence avoid the spotlight. They stay quiet in meetings and downplay their successes. Because of this, they may miss out on opportunities to solve problems and influence important decisions, helping to build their credibility. Subsequently, their teams and organizations won’t benefit from their unique perspectives.

The ‘C’ of COMPASS in action

Building confidence is a gradual process – like all skills and competencies, it requires practice. As an alum of one of our programmes, you might recall the elements that helped build your self-awareness, or how you learnt to shift your approach to risk-taking and quieten that voice of self-doubt. You might have come away with new networks, both fellow participants and programme contributors, that helped to support with feelings of isolation, made you realise that a lack of experience is not always a disadvantage, and showed you there is reward in bringing fresh ideas to team and organizational challenges.  

Whether you noticed it at the time, or it’s been something that has grown and developed subsequently, these experiences, and what you choose to do with them, may have contributed to real shifts in your confidence, leading you to new opportunities, ongoing learning, and the path to better, more impactful leadership.  Confidence is the foundation to your personal growth and development, and that’s why it is so integral to our programme framework.  

With that in mind, I’d like to invite you now to reflect on how your confidence may have changed or evolved after participating on a programme. How have you continued to grow and develop your confidence, how has it impacted on your leadership? How do you tap into it in those moments where you don’t feel confident at all?  It might be that you participated one year, two years, or 10 years ago - whatever the timeline, think about how you can now continue to tap into that space of confidence as you continue your leadership journey.  



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