When you are leading an organization, a parish, a project, whatever, it is easy to be insecure. It is difficult to lead people from one place to another, speak publicly, be responsible for something and not have second thoughts about what you are doing or deciding. It is really difficult to hear criticism, or suspect it’s out there. And if someone on your team betrays you or lets you down it can erode the confidence of even the most confident.
Most all of us suffer from insecurity from time to time. But my take on it is that healthy and effective leaders are tracking on their insecurity levels, they’re being honest with themselves and giving permission to people they trust to speak truth into their lives too. If you do, you will be a happier healthier person and your organization will be healthier too.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Can I celebrate other people’s success?
This is indispensible for effective teams, and yet all too often overlooked. As a leader it cannot be all about me, nor can I measure my own success on someone else’s failure. Besides, celebrating another’s success is good for the soul.
2. Do I understand my strengths and weaknesses?
Humility is great, Jesus is humble of heart and we seek to be like him. But it does no good for a leader to over emphasize his or her own shortcomings or weakness (an obvious sign of insecurity). On the other hand it is equally unhelpful (though less obvious) to refuse to admit to mistakes or try and pretend we can do everything, know it all, and have all the answers.
3. Is my sense of worth driven by others or by results?
It is probably inevitable for most of us to want approval and encouragement from others. And success in our field of endeavor will build confidence and a sense of achievement. That is all fine. But we can’t let our whole opinion of ourselves constantly rise and fall on weekend attendance, blog comments, critical reviews, and profit margins.
4. Do I need to be the final word on everything?
Insecure people are control freaks, and it always shows at meetings and in discussions where they must speak first and last, and if they’re the leader, the boss, the pastor, they can get away with it. Ask yourself, or better yet, ask someone on your team, if you are like that. Then stop doing it. And by the way, you do not need to chair every meeting you attend either.
5. Am I comfortable with people who are more gifted?
Any leader would probably rush to answer, “Yes, of course.” But pause to consider how true it really is when it comes to your team. The sign of a good leader is that they always have people more gifted than they are along with them. The sign of a great leader is that everyone on their team is more gifted and talented. A great leader wants to attract those kinds of people and can hold on to them.
For another take on this same topic check out careynieuwhof.com