It is often surprising to hear how many insecure leaders there are. Admittedly this is usually at the beginning of someone’s managerial career when they don’t know what they are doing.
In this article we look at some of the symptoms to help you recognise if you are displaying the behaviours of an insecure leader.
You Want To Control Everything
Micro managing what people do in your team is one of the most obvious signs. It demonstrates that you don’t trust anyone to get the work finished for fear that you might be criticised if it doesn’t. Unfortunately the consequence of this behaviour is demotivated staff and a drop in the effectiveness of you and your staff. Trusting the people in your team to get on with it will bring its rewards.
You Are Suspicious Of Talented People
When you have very good people in your team you may feel threatened by them. This may be because you think they might show you up or try to undermine you. To make yourself feel better you may deliberately find fault in anything they do.
Some of the best coaches in the world are not as good as (or never have been) the people they are coaching. What they are able to do is bring out and use the talent of their charges. So instead of being afraid of them, recognise their talent and make it your goal to do what you can to develop and help them succeed. They can also help to make the team look good and achieve great things.
You Tell People How Good You Are
People with big egos are often insecure because they are looking for recognition and reassurance. By telling people what they have done they are hoping that others will give them a compliment to boost their self-esteem. Unfortunately teams see it as showing off!
You Keep Things To Yourself
Because you want to get the credit for everything that happens in your department you don’t let anyone else know what is going on. If you find a technique that enables you to get good results you only use it for your own ends. What you don’t realise is that by behaving if this way you start losing the trust of other people in your team as you claim credit for their work. In the end they begin to follow your behaviour and in the end no one trusts each other. Share good practice with the team and the wider team outside of your department. You will probably gain more respect and better results as you attract help and support from others.
You Use Intimidation & Manipulation To Direct People
When you are insecure you do not believe that you can inspire or influence people to achieve your objectives. At any sign of resistance to your ideas or if people make their own suggestions, you become autocratic or try to manipulate people to do it your way. Try listening to what your colleagues are telling you. Just by considering their ideas you might realise that they have brains too and can actually make your job easier if they think for themselves.
Having assessed your own behaviours, do you recognise any of these? If you do, ask yourself, ‘What can I do to learn and develop my skills as a manager? Are you open minded enough to find opportunities where you can have different experiences as a manager? Have you considered volunteering to hold leadership or manager positions in charities and board of governors etc. These are great places to develop your craft and put something back into the community too. You might even enjoy it.
Head of Training
Originally published: 8 April, 2013
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