When was the last time you heard yourself or another leader acknowledge being insecure? Almost never, right? Yet, every leader has some insecurities, if they aren’t too insecure to acknowledge them. A tinge of jealousy. A sense of doubt. A hint of fear. A lack of confidence. Insecurities are often surfaced when someone else is complimented, given recognition, or promoted. We may ignore them or deny them, but insecurities are there and when left unmanaged, can damage our relationships, our credibility, and even harm the organizations we lead. Here are 7 of the most common insecurities that can hold good leaders back.
1. Someone is more innovative than me.
Sign of insecurity: Striving to take credit for the success of the team or others.
2. Someone is more networked than me.
Sign of insecurity: Letting people know you are a “player” by dropping names of who you know.
3. Someone is liked more than me.
Sign of insecurity: Trying extra hard to be “liked” rather than to be “respected.”
4. Someone is smarter than me.
Sign of insecurity: Attempting to look like an expert in every area of life and leadership.
5. Someone is outpacing me.
Sign of insecurity: Sabotaging them by either holding them back or by criticizing them.
6. Someone is better looking than me.
Sign of insecurity: Blaming their looks for their success instead of their skills.
7. Someone is younger than me.
Sign of insecurity: Using their age as a weapon against them.
So what should an insecure leader do? First, it’s ok to acknowledge it for what it is. Every leader has experienced feelings of insecurity at some point. And those who say they haven’t – are too insecure to acknowledge it! When you experience insecurity, ask yourself, “Why?” Why am I threatened? Why am I anxious? Why am I jealous? Often, triggers of insecurity grow out of not feeling valued or good enough. If you find yourself being hindered by this, a good coach or counselor may be able to help guide you through it.
“We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it.” —Kobe Bryant
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center Consulting Group and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.