10 Signs Of an Insecure Leader


​Leadership is hard. Even on the best days, you’ll likely be faced with challenging situations and difficult decisions. Second-guessing yourself every once in a while is natural, but be careful. Too much internal doubt can mean you’re an insecure leader who seems to have everything under control on the outside, but is lacking confidence on the inside.

Are You an Insecure Leader?

Answer these 10 questions to find out:

  1. Do you talk more than you listen? Insecure leaders are hesitant to yield the floor to others both in one-on-one conversations and in group meetings. They equate controlling the conversation with controlling their team members.
  2. Are you resistant to change? Insecure leaders are comforted by the status quo. While avoiding change reduces their risk of failure, it also nearly eliminates their chance for success.
  3. Do you feel like you’re putting out fires all the time? Insecurity hinders proactivity. If you’re an insecure leader, you worry so much about being wrong that you put off solving problems until those problems become too big to ignore.
  4. When something goes wrong with your team, are you immediately looking for someone to blame? Effective leadership means accepting that your team’s failure is your failure. Insecure leaders have a hard time seeing failure as an opportunity for improvement because they’re more concerned with projecting authority.
  5. Do you avoid feedback? Encouraging a cycle of feedback strengthens teams, but insecure leaders feel threatened when their team members have ideas that may be better than their own.
  6. Do you feel like you always have more work than you can handle? Insecure leaders are afraid to delegate tasks and empower employees to make decisions on their own. This leads to overwhelming to-do lists and, eventually, burnout.
  7. Do you struggle with celebrating the success of others? Insecure leaders operate under the false assumption that for them to win, everyone around them has to lose. They have a hard time giving compliments, offering words of encouragement, or sharing the limelight.
  8. Are you threatened by new employees? Feelings of insecurity go on overdrive when new employees are hired. Insecure leaders with hiring authority may even go so far as to hire people who seem to have little potential, simply because they are less of a threat.
  9. Do you think people are working against you? Trust is stagnant when insecure leaders are in charge. They don’t trust their employees and, in turn, their employees don’t trust them.
  10. Do you misuse your authority? Insecure leaders are quick to use their authority as a defense mechanism. To remind everyone – and themselves – that they have power, they may assert that power unnecessarily or unfairly.

How to Overcome Being an Insecure Leader

If any of the questions above made you think that you may be an insecure leader, don’t worry. Insecurity or the lack of confidence is a temporary state of mind, not a permanent personality trait. When you work to overcome your insecurities, you’ll find that a position of leadership is not such an isolating place.

More Leadership Insight

For more tips on how to be an effective leader, check out the leadership episodes in the Culture of Convenience podcast.

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