“Insecure leaders are dangerous leaders.” A friend shared this sentiment with me, and Dr. John C. Maxwell agrees that “…few things are worse than an insecure leader.” Insecure leaders break teams instead of building them and are extremely toxic, causing great organizations to be mediocre (or even terrible).
I recently worked for a manager who, due to her insecurities, tried to control every aspect of our work environment to the point of insanity. She refused to take the blame for any mistakes, rarely gave praise for work well done, and always sought to make those she managed feel like failures. During my last week there, she told my successor that I was terrible and that she did all the work when it came to my job. It was the most challenging work environment I have ever had–and I have worked in church leadership!
Working with insecure leaders is often incredibly draining physically, mentally, and emotionally. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to change your situation right now. So how do you work close to the fire without getting burned?
- Pray for your situation and for your insecure leaders. This should be your first resort, not your last. Prayer has helped me work with many insecure leaders, and God has answered prayers for strength to walk through those difficult times. And don’t forget to thank God for this trial! He is doing a great work in you through this situation, whether it seems like it or not! (Jeremiah 29:11) Like oxygen to a firefighter, prayer can give you a needed lift!
- Detox from your environment as often as possible. Pull yourself away! For three years, it was necessary that I took regular lunches, mental health (sick) days, vacations, and time after work each day to mentally recover and physically rest my body, mind, and soul. You are not meant to live in a continual state of stress. Since it is the only body you have, care for it while you are stressed out. Relax as much as possible and even pamper yourself if you can.
- Share your joys and frustrations with a friend. Each day, I shared my frustrations with close friends who prayed for me, listened to me, guided me when I thought I might lose my mind (and my job), and encouraged me to stay the course when the going got tough. This is especially important if you have a family; they deserves the best of you, not the rest of you. Leave your work worries outside of your sanctuary (home).
If you think you might actually BE an insecure leader, get some feedback from friends and coworkers. If they agree, then admit that you have a problem and find someone to help you. For deeper issues, try a counselor or therapist. If your insecurities concern your identity and leadership skills, a coach could be the right person to help you.
YOU have the tools to make a change, whether it is dealing with insecure leadership or moving out of insecurity and into freedom.
Working with a dangerous, insecure leader? Need help taking the next steps? Click “Contact Me” at the top of this page and fill out the contact form. I’d love to have a free discovery call with you.