At a recent talk I was asked “What is it that most commonly derails leaders?” This is a great question because it forces us to think about the perils of leadership and those things that can make our leadership ineffective.
In my experiences working with leaders of many different types of organizations, I have found that insecurity is the most common struggle for leaders. Leaders who are insecure are not comfortable with their own weaknesses and are afraid to acknowledge that they don’t know everything or do everything well. They are afraid to say, “I don’t know.” These leaders are also hesitant to hire people who are smarter than they are or who complement their weaknesses. As a result, the team does not get stronger through talent acquisition and management.
I have also found that people tend to mask their insecurity with arrogance. And the arrogant leader will have trouble creating willing and passionate followers. If people view a leader as arrogant, they perceive a selfishness in the leader that makes it difficult for them to follow.
So how do we become more secure in our leadership?
First, understand that being a leader doesn’t mean you know everything. It means you know how to motivate and energize the people who do know. Get comfortable with saying, “I don’t know.” Second, identify your own weaknesses. Think often and honestly about your weaknesses. Acknowledge them and know that these are not faults, they simply make you human. Get comfortable working with people who know more than you do and make a conscious effort to get them on your team. Third, be confident but not arrogant. Confidence is a belief in your own abilities. Arrogance is an over-bearing pride that causes you to treat others with inferiority. Confidence allows you to help others. Arrogance causes you to help yourself. Leaders must be confident. But if leaders are arrogant they will lose followers.
Insecurity is one of the most common leadership derailments. So be aware of this and use these thoughts to help you prevent insecurity in your leadership.
Be on the lookout for my next blog where I’ll write about another leadership derailment, The Ivory Tower.
Thanks for reading,
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