Ever wonder if you’re an insecure leader?
There’s a bit of irony in that question. Insecure people by nature wonder about things like that. I know because part of my personal leadership journey over the years has been spent battling insecurity.
It’s the same for many of us. Most leaders I know struggle with some level of insecurity. In my next post, I’ll share some strategies that can really help get past the struggle so many of us face.
But in the meantime, how do you know whether insecurity occupies some real estate in your life?
Because self-awareness is a major step toward personal change, here are five signs you might be battling insecurity as a leader.
1. You are constantly comparing yourself to others
You and I have lots to learn from other people, but insecure people aren’t driven so much by a desire to learn as they are to know whether they are better or worse than others.
There is a world of difference between tracking with someone to grow and learn and tracking other people or organizations to see how you stack up.
One is healthy, the other destructive. As Andy Stanley says, there is no win in comparison. In fact, there’s just a lot of sin in comparison.
2. Your sense of self-worth is driven by your latest results
I’m a results-driven guy. I want to see this mission expand and I want to see things grow.
Some of that is good. And some of that can warp any sense of security you have.
You know you’re an insecure leader when your opinion of yourself rises and falls with your attendance, performance, blog stats, comment thread, reviews or what others say about you.
Preachers, you aren’t nearly as good as your last message, or as bad.
I do monitor all of these things, but I’ve had to learn not to obsess over them.
God’s opinion of me doesn’t equate with people’s opinion of me.
I need to learn from trends and learn from others, but I cannot let someone else determine my worth.
3. You can’t celebrate someone else’s success
This trait is a tell-tale sign that you are insecure.
Why can’t you just give a compliment? Why can’t you be genuinely happy when someone else succeeds?
Life is actually not a zero sum game – at least not life in God’s Kingdom. For you to win, someone else does not have to lose.
If you can’t compliment a competitor, why not? If you can’t celebrate a colleague, is it because you are worried others might think they are better than you?
You do not need to be the only one who is ‘great’ at something.
4. You make no room for people who are more gifted or competent than you
This is where your personal traits inflict direct harm to your organization (not that the other traits don’t, but this one has a direct and lethal impact).
Insecure people always feel a need to be the most gifted person in the room. As a result, the number of gifted people in any room they’re in drops accordingly.
One sign of a great leader is someone who can attract and keep people more gifted and competent than themselves.
The future will belong to people who can forge great alliances, make great partnerships and attract great people.
5. You need to be the final word on everything
Insecure people end up being controlling people.
Insecure people don’t need experts because they want to be the expert. Know-it-alls weren’t much fun in kindergarten; they are less fun in the adult world.
Leaders who need to be the final word on everything end up leading not much more than themselves.
The truth is most of us are only great at one or two things, and even then, you became good at it with the help and advice of others.
When you value the counsel and input of others–especially on the things you’re best at–you embark on a path toward greater wisdom.
Those are some signs I’ve seen that mark insecurity in myself and in others.
How about you? What have you noticed? Scroll down and leave a comment.
If you want more on how your church can create a healthier leadership culture, I wrote about that in my new book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow.
The new Team Edition is now available featuring 8 videos that can help optimally frame the conversations for your team. And if you buy the Team Edition before May 31st, 2016, you’ll get access to a private Facebook Group for Team Edition leaders hosted by me.
I’m on a sabbatical in May, and (for the most part) running past articles that have slipped off the mainstream but in my view can still help leaders. — Carey