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10 Reasons Why Leaders Need a Confidant

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Why should every leader have a trusted confidant?

Leaders are called to be courageous. And Confident, yet constantly humble. Being Confident is important. But change out the "e" for an "a" in confident, and this is also a huge need for leaders: A CONFIDANT.

Dictionary.com defines Confidant as "a close friend or associate to whom secrets are confided or with whom private matters and problems are discussed." Every leader I know needs a Confidant.

So here are a few thoughts on leaders having a confidant:

  1. This is not someone on your team who reports to you or is a peer.
  2. This is not your boss. And for non-profit and church leaders, this is probably not someone on your board.
  3. This is probably not a family member, since family members seem to only see one side and not the whole picture.
  4. Make sure it's someone with honesty and integrity, who you are 100% sure won't talk to anyone else about what you are sharing. Loose lips sink ships.
  5. It is someone you can rely on, share with, lean into for tough decisions, gripe about things, and receive counsel from.
  6. There are lots of executive coaches out there. And I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea for your executive coach or life coach to potentially be a confidant. But ideally, your confidant is not someone you pay to help you.
  7. A confidant doesn't make decisions for you; he or she ADVISES you. Don't allow your confidant to be your final decision maker.
  8. Nothing to gain -- make sure your confidant is not motivated one way or the other by the outcome of your decisions. For example, as a professional athlete, many look to their agents as their confidants,  but ultimately that can be a bit risky, since the agent's job is to get more money for the athlete, thus gaining more money himself or herself.
  9. Confidants are more for listening than they are talking. Advice and counsel many times can be best given by being a sounding board than by a clanging gong.
  10. Start early in your career. You don't need to be a CEO or a president to have a confidant. As a leader, having an outside voice to give advice at any level in the organization is helpful.
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