Leadership and Management

Leadership Insecurity: Signs and Preventions

In leadership, confidence has always been a crucial trait for an individual to possess. Yet, in reality, all leaders have their own inner battles that they need to face everyday. One of them is leadership insecurity and it is actually a common thing than it might seem at first glance. This deep-seated insecurity can stem from many kinds of situations, whether it is coming from past experiences, low self esteem, their upbringing, imposter syndrome, or lack of supports from people around them.

Since leaders are someone who inspire, guide, and achieve remarkable results, people tend to look up to them. However, having insecurity in leadership can prevent them from reaching their goals and fulfill potential as a great leader. It will not only impact themselves but also to the teams and the whole organization. There are few things that is more detrimental than having an insecure leader. As an example, they will terminate employees who seems to be more greater than them in from their view. This will not only put the strong team members into risk, but also to the organization.

A suitable quote by John C. Maxwell has said that: “Insecure leaders never develop people. They replace them.”

Here are the signs of leadership insecurity to take note of:

  • Micromanaging
  • Constant self-doubt
  • Indecisiveness
  • Hesitant to delegate tasks
  • Need constant validation
  • Not open to new ideas or feedback
  • Self comparison to other leaders
  • Avoid confrontation
  • Deflect blames on others
  • Exaggerate on short-term results for success
  • Overemphasis on titles or authority
  • Not able to celebrate others’ success
  • Have an imposter syndrome

Rest assured, here are some of the ways that one can eliminate leadership insecurities once and for all:

Develop self-awareness: One of the key to self awareness is introspection. Asses and recognize emotions to gain better understanding on what situations that triggers the feeling of inadequacy. For example, try to recognize the emotions coming from self-doubt and lacking of confidence such as shame, fear, anxiety, apathy, frustration and guilt. When the emotion is recognized, one can acknowledge and accept it, develop healthy coping strategies for the emotions, set boundaries, practice mindfulness, journaling, express emotions, or even seek support from a friend. For a bonus, leaders will have the ability to control and manage their emotions through self awareness.

Build self confidence: Confidence is built on step by step which requires deliberate actions and consistent effort to accumulates. It may take a lot of time to develop, the results are worth the investment. As this actions become more robust, one will start to believe in their own abilities and worth. By doing a lot of self cares, acknowledge small and big achievements, focus on strengths can improve self confidence and help to counter the feeling of insecurity. Also, initiating the self-confidence journey by establishing daily routines and nurturing small, consistent habits can be a great start.

Be a learner: A true leader embraces the role of being a student. Leaders need to gain better understanding of their team since this will impact them in decision-making. To be a learner, asking questions and engaging with fresh new perspectives are the few ways to do it. They will also need to learn how to embrace failure as it is a part of a learning phase. To others, this will show that leaders value perspectives and promotes open-mindedness. Other than that, receiving guidance from mentors or coaches will give leaders a safe to explore challenges and goals to grow and and succeed.

Recognize contributions of others: Giving credits and acknowledging the hard work that the team deserve is one of an effective leadership. Leaders who are under pressure to perform may fail to acknowledge the team’s contributions. However, taking credits from the work of others can disrupt the relationships, create resentments, diminish of job satisfactions and decrease trust on the leader. Both actions can cause frictions in team dynamics which lead to decrease in team productivity or may cause a turnover due to the impacts to the team’s morale who were expecting for a recognition.

While leadership insecurity is a common challenge which many leaders face, there is always a room for improvisation. It is unlikely that insecurity will completely eliminated, but with a great focus to improve, it can give a lot of impact on personal growth. A good leader will try to recognize the signs and understand that it is possible to overcome this. With an open and positive mindset, leaders can enhance their leadership skills from improving their self confidence to combat various challenges effectively.





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