At the 2016 Annual Network Conference I had the privilege of teaching on the subject of overcoming leadership insecurities. Since I had a short window to share I didn’t have time to cover some of the other ways we as leaders can overcome our insecurities. Here’s what I would’ve included in my talk if I had had more time:
- Refuse to compare yourself with others. Much of our leadership insecurities come from comparing ourselves to others. This is something we must work hard to avoid doing. The apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:12 “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” I like the way Andy Stanley summarizes this verse when he says “There’s no win in comparison.” The danger of comparing yourself to others is two fold. Either you discover you’re doing better than someone else which leads to pride, or you discover you’re doing worse than someone else which only exacerbates insecurity. Either way you lose! When we simply refuse to measure our success by the achievements of others – and instead measure our success by our faithfulness to what God has called us to do – we overcome leadership insecurity.
- Be willing to learn from others. Proverbs 15:22 says “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” All leaders need advisers – people they turn to for advice and to get wisdom. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we ought to try and learn from others. Insecure leaders are afraid of letting others in on the fact that they don’t know everything. We can’t give in to the temptation to value the appearance of having it all together over gaining wisdom. When we ask others for help, even though it’s hard on our ego, we overcome leadership insecurity.
- Apologize when you’re wrong. Insecure leaders want to maintain an image of having it all together. Having to apologize after a mistake doesn’t help create that image in the mind of others. So insecure leaders find it difficult to apologize. We must realize the truth that when we apologize to others, they think more of us, not less! When we go ahead and apologize, even though in doing so our ego takes a hit, we overcome leadership insecurity.
- Measure your success by the success of others. When an insecure leader hears that someone on his/her team is doing well, that makes them feel even more insecure. Instead of feeling happy, an insecure leader feels threatened. But we insecure leaders have to change the way we think. The volunteers under our leadership or the people that work for us are not our competition – they’re our teammates! In sports, when the players do well, that reflects good on the coach. A coach measures his/her success by the success of the team. We church leaders would be wise to do the same! Don’t measure your success by how you shine in comparison with how they shine, rather begin measuring success by their success. If they are winning, you’re winning! When you measure success this way you overcome leadership insecurity.