Insecurity can easily creep into a person’s leadership. I’ve worked with insecure leaders before – and it’s not a great experience. I’ve led out of insecurity at times too… also not a great experience. Because at some point, insecurity begins to erode character. Insecure leaders tend to create drama, they are defensive, they blame-shift, the make comparisons, and ultimately, they can cause pain in the lives of people they lead. Insecurity eventually comes out in unhealthy ways. There are three main temptations leaders are particularly prone to that usually arise out of insecurity.
Sometimes it’s easiest for leaders to walk the path of least resistance. You want to satisfy the desires of the person across the table from you or go along with the collective will of the team, even though you know deep down it’s not right. People-pleasing tendencies can lead to small character compromises which will eventually erode the integrity of the leader.
The pressure to INSPIRE OTHERS
Leaders live in the spotlight, and the need to impress people is very real. So, you can begin to build a public image that exists independently of your private image. It can even emerge from pure motivations. “The people need to be led, they need a good role model.” So, you let people think you’re more caring than you are, more spiritual than you are, more decisive than you are. It’s easy to build a persona that’s larger than reality instead of living authentically. And again, your character begins to be compromised.
When a crisis comes or when momentum stalls, without character a leader can go into self-protection mode. Maybe you’re trying to protect your position, or your retirement fund, or maybe you’re just trying to protect your reputation. This can lead to responses that lack integrity. You resort to gossip or slander to try to shift the blame to someone else. The problems are someone else’s fault but the successes are all yours. You interpret all disagreements with you as disloyalty. You cut corners because you need to get what you can while you can.
I believe that the answer to these insecurities is to lean into godly character. Character comes through a self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. Regular feedback from others. A confidence in who God made you to be. But most of all character comes from a regular walk with Christ. Spiritual practices and disciplines. A commitment to following the words and ways of God. You don’t have to make everyone happy, and you don’t have to be the main source of inspiration and you don’t have to protect your self-interests. You control your actions and leave your reputation in God’s hands. Insecurity in yourself can only be combatted with a deep security in Christ.