In today’s fast-paced and challenging professional environments, the resilience of leaders is more crucial than ever. Effective leadership is not just about making the right decisions; it’s about maintaining one’s strength and focus in the face of adversity. This blog post explores the critical connection between self-validation and leadership resilience, outlines the benefits for both leaders and their teams, highlights the drawbacks of relying on external validation, and provides actionable tips for leaders to cultivate self-validation skills.

Self-Validation and Leadership Resilience: An Essential Link

Self-validation is the practice of recognising and affirming one’s own experiences, emotions, and decisions independently of external approval. For leaders, the ability to self-validate is intrinsically linked to resilience—the capacity to navigate challenges, bounce back from setbacks, and adapt to change with tenacity and composure.

Leaders who excel in self-validation are equipped with a robust sense of self-worth, enabling them to handle criticism and failure without undermining their confidence or vision.  These leaders are more adept at developing and maintaining mental toughness because they can define who they are and what they are doing so they can find their place in any scenario in their workplace.

This internal fortitude is key to sustaining focus, making strategic decisions, and leading with conviction, even when external conditions are tumultuous.  This level of self-awareness is crucial to resilience.  Being able to validate the value of your efforts and the way they form your character is a key part of journey to becoming a resilient leader.

And, yet, we are so often tempted to seek our validation from external sources like managers, colleagues, friends and family.  We might even seek our validation from social media.  We are drawn to external validation because it feels good.  It is gratifying and it is always easy to digest.

Advantages of Self-Validation in Leadership

Benefits for Leaders:

  • Improved Decision-Making: Self-validating leaders trust their insights and are less likely to be swayed by fleeting trends or the need for external endorsement, leading to more authentic and strategic choices.
  • Boosted Confidence: A strong practice of self-validation enhances leaders’ self-confidence, empowering them to take decisive actions and navigate challenges with assurance.
  • Emotional Equilibrium: Recognising and valuing one’s emotions contributes to emotional stability, reducing the risk of burnout and enhancing overall well-being.
  • Unleash your Creative Power: You are focusing your energy inward allowing it to be a sustaining force for your own unique creativity and voice.
  • Inner Sense of Worth: By focusing on self-validation, you are sending yourself the message that your values, goals, feelings, thoughts and well-being actually matter.


Benefits for Teams:

  • Elevated Morale: Leaders who practice self-validation inspire their teams, promoting a culture where individual contributions are valued, which in turn boosts morale and engagement.
  • Deepened Trust: Teams are more likely to trust and follow leaders who demonstrate authenticity and confidence, fostering a positive and productive work environment.
  • Encouragement of Innovation: Self-assured leaders are more likely to cultivate a culture that values innovation and smart risk-taking, essential for organisational growth and adaptability.


The Pitfalls of Seeking External Validation

Leaders dependent on external validation face several challenges:

  • Emotional Fluctuations: Relying on external approval can make leaders vulnerable to emotional instability, with their sense of self-worth oscillating based on external feedback.
  • Authenticity at Risk: The quest for external validation can lead to compromised values and decision-making, with leaders potentially prioritising popularity over the right course of action.
  • Undermined Resilience: An excessive focus on external approval can weaken a leader’s resilience, making them less capable of confronting and overcoming professional obstacles.
  • Depleted Internal Resources: Focusing on external validation can cause leaders to overstep their own physical, mental and emotional boundaries, overlooking their own wellbeing in pursuit of external recognition.
  • Self-Betrayal: The main problem with always seeking external validation is that it can lead you to betray your value system because you are constantly sending yourself the message that you are not good enough.


self-validation in leadership

Top Five Tips for Cultivating Self-Validation in Leadership

  1. Develop Self-Awareness: Understanding your core values, beliefs, and objectives is the first step toward self-validation, providing a solid foundation for confident and authentic leadership.
  2. Acknowledge All Outcomes: Celebrate your successes and view failures as growth opportunities, reinforcing a positive self-image and a balanced perspective on achievements and setbacks.
  3. Check in On Yourself: When you are doing something, check in with your feelings, state of mind and the state of your body and assess what is happening there.  Internal validation generally comes with feeling more energised, contented and feeling more fulfilled by your work.
  4. Affirmative Self Talk: Positive self-talk serves as a powerful tool for self-validation.  Phrases like ‘I trust my judgement’, ‘I am the right person’, ‘I have the skills to deal with this situation’, ‘I know what to do’, ‘I know how to do it’ and ‘I am good enough’ reinforce personal validation.
  5. Care What Some People Think: The mentally tough leader will discern between people he considers ‘valuable’ and those who are not.  He will be concerned with what these ‘valuable’ people think and will not worry about trivial reactions or inconsequential thoughts of others.
  6. Implement Mindfulness Practices: Regular mindfulness can enhance your connection with your current experiences, promoting a non-judgmental acknowledgment of your thoughts and feelings.
  7. Reflective Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and emotions and exploring them in more depth on paper can help process and validate these thoughts and emotions.
  8. Note Your Strengths: While you are keeping a journal, every time you notice a strength in yourself, write it down.  This helps to structure your thoughts around your strengths and enable you to deal positively with moments of self-doubt.
  9. Utilise Constructive Feedback: While self-validation is key, constructive criticism can provide valuable insights for personal and professional growth, enhancing your self-validation process.
  10. Build a Supportive Network: Surround yourself with people who encourage your development in self-validation, providing a balanced perspective that complements your self-validation efforts.



For leaders aiming to thrive in today’s dynamic working landscape, mastering the art of self-validation is not just beneficial—it’s essential. By fostering self-validation, leaders not only enhance their own resilience but also contribute to a more motivated, trusting, and innovative team dynamic. Embrace the journey of self-validation as a continuous path of growth and empowerment, and witness its transformative impact on your leadership effectiveness and organizational influence.

Join me on my free 2 hour The Resilient Leader Masterclass – start your resilience journey.
We hope you enjoy our blogs. Please follow and like us: