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When you say the word ‘Leader,’ what comes to mind? Most people visualize a strong, assertive, confident and successful person. Do you think a leader can be insecure? Quite surprisingly, it happens more often than you can imagine. Before moving on, let’s take a look at what does the word ‘insecure’ mean? According to Webster’s dictionary: “Not confident about yourself or your ability to do things well: nervous and uncomfortable.”
The above definition doesn’t paint the picture of a leader, does it? Insecurity seems to be an antithesis to leadership but, nonetheless, many leaders are afflicted by it. So, if you are in a leadership position, you should know some of the signs of an insecure person so that you can try to avoid it.
Some of the resounding thoughts in an insecure leader’s mind are: I can’t do it, because if I put myself on the line, people may see my weaknesses. I should appear to be distant so that people can’t see the real extent of my abilities.
Characteristics of an Insecure Leader
Defensive attitude: One thing that identifies an insecure person is being defensive in the face of criticism or a challenge. If you feel an urge to protect your position as soon as someone starts to analyze and comment on your decisions or actions, know that this is insecurity talking.
He doesn’t want to open up: Insecure people are often reluctant to share personal information. They may seem aloof because of keeping information from the people around. Even when they share information, they try to present themselves as a model person by putting spotlight only on the positive attributes.
He wants to stay in the limelight: They try to remain in the limelight by staying in the news and by assuming the key assignments. They don’t like to give credit to other people for a job well done. Due to this quality, such leaders do more harm than good.
He doesn’t want to help people get ahead: One of the most important qualities of a leader is to help his followers develop and improve. An insecure leader does the opposite and discourages initiative and creative thinking so that he can keep the people under his control for as long as possible.
He avoids confrontation: Nobody expects the leaders to go out looking for confrontation but since it is a part of life, leaders should be equipped to handle it. Insecure leaders avoid confrontation because it exposes their inability to handle difficult situations.
How to Conquer Insecurity
Although insecurity is can be very difficult to overcome, you can conquer insecurity. So how do you do it?
Face your fears: Every one of us has weaknesses and shortcomings; even the greatest of leaders have experienced their fair share of it. If you have figured out what your weaknesses are, don’t try to put a façade of stability and greatness. Tackle the situation by addressing the issues and by trying to overcome the weaknesses. Don’t be shy about asking for help, since everybody needs help sometimes. There are no short cuts to greatness; it is hard work that needs to be put in day after day after day.
Reach out to others for help: None of us can survive on our own without help from fellow human beings. One of the worst things about insecurity is that it keeps you from asking for help because of the fear that people would think less of you. However, this is not how it works; people are generally keen to help each other, especially if they get a chance to contribute something positive in the life of their leaders.
“It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity.”