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The Champion Forum Podcast

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TCFP195: Overcoming Insecurity as a Leader

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Everyone has moments of insecurity. However, you must learn to recognize signs of insecurity, figure out the root causes of it, and attempt to prevent insecurity from affecting your leadership.


Insecure leaders have a hard time identifying their insecurity because it feels normal to them. Most insecure leaders are skilled at presenting themselves as confident and strong. Ultimately, insecurity will always manifest in a lack of confidence that makes you too aggressive in some settings and passive and resigned in others. Today on the Champion Forum Podcast, we discuss the negative impact of insecure leaders and how to become more confident.


Signs You Might Be Insecure:

  • You are easily flattered

  • You are easily offended

  • You micro-manage others

  • You avoid conflict and confrontation

  • You aren’t good at asking for help

  • You aren’t interested in feedback

  • You never explain your decisions to your team

  • You crave affirmation

  • You are very sensitive to criticism

  • You feel threatened by talented team members

  • You pass blame

  • You tear down others to make yourself feel worthy

  • You rarely give thanks and recognition

  • You are easily flattered


Q: What other signs of insecurity would you add to this list? Where do you think insecurity comes from? How can you, as a leader, create a workplace where people can feel secure?


How To Be A More Secure, Confident Leader


1. Practice Humility

Humility is something that can be developed by practicing assessing and accepting your strengths and weaknesses. You can do this by seeking honest feedback from people who care about you but are not impressed by you. Insecure leaders should also practice viewing others from a place of value and appreciation. Be intentional about gratitude, especially toward those who are helping you win!


Q: Some leaders see humility as a weakness. Do you agree? Why or why not? Have you ever worked with a humble leader? Describe your relationship with them.


2. Become Teachable

Most leaders can agree that they don’t “know it all,” yet they are afraid to admit it. Unteachable leaders are hard to work with and limited by their knowledge gaps and weaknesses. The best way to become teachable is by putting yourself in vulnerable situations that allow others to shine. Start by finding a strong mentor, hiring people who are more skilled than you, and asking more questions!

Q: What do you think it means to be “teachable?” How can you practically demonstrate that you are teachable?


3. Engage in healthy conflict

The most effective and secure leaders actually seek to engage in conflict regularly. Don’t take disagreements or misunderstandings personally, and be willing to acknowledge when you have made a mistake in your approach or attitude. Be careful to understand the other person’s deeper interests or desires. Then, they try to satisfy those interests!


Q: How well do you deal with conflict on a scale of 1-10? Why do some leaders struggle with how to address conflict? What would help you feel better about managing conflict?


4. Be a champion of the success of others

Leaders often make the mistake of needing to own everything or needing to master everything and everyone they manage. Sometimes when we are insecure, we view seeing others win as a threat to our position. To overcome this, you must be willing to find satisfaction in their success as individuals and as a group.

  • Identify their strengths and put them in roles where they can thrive.

  • Understand their motives.

  • Assign them responsibilities and projects that allow them to shine.

  • Be creative and think of ways you can support their success.

  • Be OK with giving the spotlight to others.


Q: Do you find it hard to let others be in the spotlight? Why or why not? Describe a time when your leader let you have the spotlight. How did it make you feel? How did it affect your relationship?


Application Activities:

  1. Insecure leaders will often create insecure teams. If you are unsure whether you struggle with insecurity, ask yourself if you see insecure behaviors in your team members. If you see insecure behaviors among most or all of your team members, you should work on creating a more secure work environment. Consider the following:

    1. How do you respond when someone makes a mistake? Does your team own up to errors, or do they try to hide them and fix them on their own?

    2. How often do you provide positive feedback? Does your team know that you appreciate their efforts, or do you only initiate contact to give them an assignment or correct an error?

    3. How are you vulnerable with your team? Teams that see their leaders as vulnerable and humble are more likely to exhibit those characteristics.

  2. Insecure leaders tend to struggle with micromanagement. If you have been accused of this, check out our past episode on how to stop micromanaging by practicing accountability. You can use the application activities in the show notes to help you grow in this area.

  3. Regardless of where you are on the organizational hierarchy, you can help create a culture of security in your office! A straightforward way to do this is to look for ways to celebrate your team, coworkers, and boss. When possible, share responsibility for your success and publicly thank those who have helped you. For example, you could thank a customer service representative who helped resolve an issue with a new client and saved your sale from falling through. If you are making a presentation to the CEO, call out the people who helped you get the needed data and your boss’s direction on the project.


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