Do You Have This Fatal Flaw of Leadership
One fatal flaw in leaders that will sabotage their leadership influence and kill their efforts, ultimately causing their organization to implode, is being an “INSECURE LEADER”. Unfortunately, I can again speak with great authority and experience on this subject. Although I have always exuded a confident boldness, which gives the illusion of “being secure”, without training or experience I fell into all of the typical actions and responses insecure leaders exude. Worst of all, because of my insecurity, I “needed” people to prop me up with compliments, approval, and value; along with people showing up for attendance at my meetings to support my efforts. (Now this was over 25 years ago.) Before I knew it, I was co-dependent on the very ones I was to serve, equip, motivate, support and lead. Ok, ok, so I was only a volunteer over Women’s Ministries, Director of Camps, Supervisor of Sunday School, Director of VBS, Mission Trips Leadership and ran a Summer Master’s Commission program, they were still leadership roles, and the beginning of my love/hate relationship with leadership! In fact, I could write a book about this topic alone, the INSECURITY of LEADERS. For your sake though, I’ll give you the signs and symptoms of an insecure leader, all of which determine the stage of leadership one is on, this one being the “Title Stage”. More than that, I would love to tell you just what I’ve done that has given me freedom from this deadly flaw. If you’d like to know more, please contact me for more information. It’s my absolute favorite topic, training, and a pre-requisite for completing my Executive Coach Training Course. But let me explain more about the “Title Stage”
(This person has no real influence or skill, just a leadership position) They may be a new leader or manager, or one who has had little or no training or understanding regarding the mission and scope of leadership.
At this stage of development they have been appointed and given a title. The titled leader often uses a military, autocratic style of leadership that worked for the traditional generation, and during a war. And yet, if this is the only basis for someone’s authority and influence then they:
- Tend to be dictatorial, autocratic, demanding and controlling in their style
- Most of their actions and reactions are due to being insecure.
- When problems arise they are quick to blame shift without finding out all the facts, for fear that blame for the problem may be placed on them.
- Will make assumptions, again without the facts.
- Are defensive.
- Can’t take responsibility and have difficulty apologizing.
- Get their identity and security from the “title” and being “in charge”.
- Tend to lead by rules, protocol, flow charts and tradition.
- May have been appointed to a position regardless of their skills, talents or leadership influence.
- Expect people to “just do it” because, well “I said so”.
- Will have low moral throughout the organization.
- Will discover that people won’t engage and participate beyond their stated job description. They aren’t motivated by their work, and will only do the bare minimum.
- Use intimidation, threats and manipulation to direct people.
- Want everything to revolve around them, and what they want and need.
- Have people that feel disrespected, unimportant and frustrated.
- Have people who are not empowered to take charge themselves, and receive no rewards for any extra initiative. Instead they may intimidate the one trying to lead.
- Don’t allow their people to question anything, or ask the deeper questions to discover the real problems, issues, or hindrances of the organization.
- Believe that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. This results in unmotivated people who are discouraged.
- Micromanage due to their lack of trust.
“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.“ Max DePree
YOUR COACHING ASSIGNMENT:
Take this list above and put a 1, 2, or 3 next to the sentences, 1 meaning least like and 3 meaning most like, and evaluate where you are today. Want to really “GET REAL“, make copies of it, and have those closest to you rate the sentences about you! Then be alert to the next posting, I’ll talk about what you need to do to go to the next level OF “LEADERSHIP INFLUENCE”.
STILL WANT TRANSFORMATION: Contact me to learn about my fall coaching programs AccidentalLeader@comast.net to acquire the accountability to become the person you know you can be!
4 Tips to Develop into a Confident Leader – Getting out of the Spiral of Insecurity and Become a Secure Leader
As I mentioned in my last post, over the years I have observed that insecure leaders/managers sabotage themselves, and their company or organization from growing, thriving and maturing, even to the point of folding. So if you took the little quiz in my last post, and found you came up more insecure than confident, don’t be discouraged, there’s hope. I believe anyone can be a great, yes a great leader with effort. Now I don’t equate big with great. Some people have skills that better suit a smaller organization than large, you have to find what your level and season for leading is. Someone who is a great leader of a small group, very well could bomb out with a group of 200. Or a leader of 200, thrown into an organization of 2,000 may be in quick sand from the get-go. So here are four of the main tips I begin to use when coaching executives, and I’ve worked with small Mom and Pop organizations to coaching the top 5 executives of a billion dollar organization for three years, and the steps are the same:
- Be teachable and willing! I won’t work with anyone who isn’t, and have fired people who just go through the motions. I, therefore, have the best clients in the world, because they want to grow, and are willing to hear the hard stuff. If you can’t be honest about yourself and who you are, and are delusional about your abilities, you’ll end up blame shifting, and then wonder why everything collapsed. I see it over and over again.
- Get a mentor, or find/create a mastermind - one that sets up ground rules for operation and accountability, to hold you to do and be who you know you can become. But, my best suggestion is, hire a coach. Why? Because when you pay, you tend to take everything more seriously, and a coach won’t allow you to stay delusional. They will, if they are a good coach, confront the hard things that are tripping you, where others may be too polite to be honest with you. That’s what coach is about, assisting you to be your best. Why do you think athletes, who are the most disciplined people in the world, at the very top of their game and going to the Olympics, have a coach? It’s because they know they have blind spots, and need someone to inspire, encourage and even push them when necessary.
- Take assessments of yourself and have others do assessments of you. This is getting down and dirty, and will be the hardest, best thing you can do for your work life, as well as for all your interpersonal relationship. Assessments, such as leadership, skill, behavioral style (I recommend DISC personally), and a 360 degree assessments for start. I heard recently, listening to some EI (Emotional Intelligence) CD’s in the car, that high level executives are hired for their business finesse, knowledge and experience, but fired for their lack of Emotional Intelligence – the ability to work with, and relate to people. Assessments will show you where your strengths and weaknesses lie, if you know your true self and even if you are honest with yourself. That’s why a 360 degree review on yourself, taken by those from whom you work and live with cause you, put a demand on you looking in the mirror at those things which will sabotage you, that is, if you continue on the same track you’re on. Once you have this information, your mentor, mastermind, or coach can assist you in setting up an action plan for personal growth.
- Lastly, for now, Read, read, read, or at least listen to CD’s while you drive. I’ll be putting up a list of my favorite books and resources for leaders under the resources tab in the near future. Read everything on leadership, team-building, and people skills. Start with people skills first! Look up Dr. John C Maxwell for a really great start to your library! I make at least four of his books required reading for all of my clients.
Knowledge will lead to understanding. Take this new knowledge and understanding, and apply it to all your circumstances, and you will begin to gain a greater level of confidence. When you’re confident, you know what to do with people, and then leading them will make sense and you’ll be more at ease! I didn’t say easier, they are people, I said you will be more at ease. We can’t work magic, it’s still a little like herding cats! And lastly, read autobiographies of great leaders. Watch and you will see that they, like you, were insecure at one time or another, and had to learn and make mistakes, as we all do, to gain the skills necessary to direct, redirect, confront, delegate and even let go and move on.
Do these four things on a regular basis, and I guarantee you will gain confidence, and that confidence will translate into wisdom that gives you direction to take your business or organization where it needs to go. These are just a few, but a few major confidence building steps for now, we’ll be going over more in future postings.
BEING INSECURE WILL KILL YOU AND YOUR INFLUENCE
One of the greatest hindrances to leadership, as well as detriments to an organization, is an insecure person in a leadership role. Insecurity can come from a deep seated lack of confidence. It can come from being placed in positions of authority and influence before the appropriate training and experience are acquired. These are people that have not earned or gained, through trust and integrity, the influence of the people they are leading. They don’t have the wisdom to direct or correct, much less be able to change a course of direction as needed. You can tell a leader who is insecure by the way they are always trying to prove they are worthy of the position they hold, or the directive they have given. They may remind people of who they are, as if the position gives them certain inalienable rights. Secure leaders never have to do this, they just “are” and others willingly follow and are engaged. When insecure, they may lead by rules, reminding subordinates of their position. The unspoken culture also has rules and the employees people know the boundaries, and that it would be insurrection if they crossed them. Their desire is to gain unquestioning dedication. In fact, they view questions as insubordination and they run an organization by “Because I said so”. Their M.O. is to get rid of anyone that may question them, creating what is called “group think” where people know that the only acceptable reaction is to go along with what is proposed. Another clue to insecurity is when they abdicate responsibility when things go wrong, blaming others or the system instead of looking at the quality of their leadership. Insecurity is expressed in the way they communicate. For some it is revealed by how they need those around them to have a sense of importance. When I hear a leader of volunteers thank people for coming to a meeting, exclaiming how much they appreciate their support, I know their identity is wrapped up in the accolades of the people. This is an organization I know will some day be in trouble. For others, insecurity comes out in manipulation, either under the table, or outwardly through intimidation. People that know they’re not allowed to bring up anything that would be construed as being “negative” are dealing with an insecure leader. And when one of these leaders feels their influence with the people slipping through their fingers, they may overcompensate with pride, or by forcing people to “get-in-line” with their decisions.
I’m sure, at this point, you’ve had numerous people come to mind. You may be asking yourself “how is Sue so able to describe this”? Well, I should know, because as a young woman at the age of 23, and in a leadership role, at one time or another, most of this was a description of me. And for that matter, some of it may still be. We are all in process. Thankfully we can all, if we’re teachable and willing, grow, change, develop and gain the necessary attitudes, skills, and posture to be secure leaders that think more of those they are leading, and serve the mission of the organization, rather than expecting others and the organization to serve our sense of significance. In the next post, we’ll go over ways to become what many call a level 5 leader, one who is secure, with the right motives for their role.
You know you’re insecure if:
- You’re a know it all
- You have all the answers
- You can’t listen to anything negative
- You can’t receive help
- You don’t know what to do but proceed anyway expecting everyone to follow blindly
- You’re jealous of others that do better on a project than you, or receive the accolades and you don’t
- You don’t get input before you make decisions
- You can’t handle others under you being successful
- You can’t delegate
- You have to control everything
- You see yourself and your position as being the most important in the company
- You see yourself as indispensable
- You can’t receive correction and take everything as a conspiracy against you
- You’re consumed with conspiracy theories
- You see yourself and your leadership position as the same thing. In other words you derive your value from what you do.
Leaders may be filling their need for improper significance through:
- Holding a prestigious position (Are you there for the people or the cause, or how it makes you feel?)
- Having people look to them for answers (Creating co-dependency in the ranks)
- Controlling all the operations, having to know everything going on
- Taking all the credit for themselves
- Being the one everyone has to come to for permission (Do you need people to need you?)
- Needing to have large crowds of people come to listen to them (It’s never big enough to satisfy your needs)
For more information on how to develop as a new leader, or develop into a great leader, check out the ongoing workshops and seminars under the page, “Events”.