Have you ever worked for an insecure leader? Is it possible you are an insecure leader?
Several years ago, I realized I was, in fact, an insecure leader. Fresh out of seminary, a small, out-of-state church hired me to lead its student ministries.
I came in wanting to prove to everyone in the community that I could build one of the most successful student ministries in town. I truly believed I had the best strategy for growth and that anyone who disagreed with me was not only wrong but also disloyal. On top of this, I was overly consumed with how the other youth groups in town were doing, regularly checking in on their attendance numbers for comparison.
Want to know how this turned out for me?
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I ended up driving many people away. Within a matter of weeks, I had lost the handful of volunteers I began with as well as many of the students who had been active in the group for years. It took me several months to realize what I had done and probably another year to fully recover.
My insecurities and pride stunted the growth of a ministry that needed me to lead well.
So let me ask this question to you again – is it possible you are an insecure leader?
Here’s the reality – insecurity is one of those things that is easy to spot in others yet not so easy to spot in the mirror.
If you’re wondering whether or not you may be an insecure leader, I’d like to share with you 5 common signs:
If the latest weekend attendance, offering, or number of salvations determine your mood for the next week, you are likely an insecure leader. While it’s important to track these numbers and seek to get better over time, you cannot allow these results to drive your self-worth (for better or for worse).
Great leaders find their significance and worth in relationship with Christ alone.
Have you ever found yourself having unpleasant thoughts toward a church or ministry leader in your area that is seemingly having more success than you? Or, worse yet, have you ever found yourself secretly celebrating when you hear about drama taking place at the church down the road?
If you can’t be happy and celebrate what others are doing, you are likely an insecure leader.
Great leaders truly believe that all churches and pastors are playing for the same team with the same mission to expand the Kingdom of God.
I hope that if you are a leader than you are also a learner. The two should go hand-in-hand. However, if your desire is not so much to grow and develop as it is to be better than the next guy, you are likely an insecure leader.
Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor of North Point Community Church, reminds us:
“There is no win in comparison.”
Great leaders recognize that God has created them uniquely to lead in a specific context. They resist the urge to compare themselves to other people in other situations. They are secure in who they are and seek to grow and develop out of a genuine desire to add value to others and honor God right where He has them.
If you have to be the most talented person in the room, you are probably an insecure leader. If this is you, you probably feel threatened by others who are as good or better than you in certain areas.
Great leaders look for people who are more talented or uniquely gifted than themselves. They view other people not as competition but as complementary teammates.
If you do not create a culture where others can freely disagree or question your ideas, you are likely an insecure leader.
Great leaders care more about doing the right thing than always being right. They not only allow differing opinions but also welcome them, recognizing that collaboration is key to success.
So there you have it- 5 signs you may be an insecure leader. If you find yourself identifying with any or all of these, don’t lose heart- there’s hope!
Let me return to my story of my early years in youth ministry. After a shaky start in which I let my insecurities drive away some high-quality students and leaders, I humbled myself and offered many of them an apology.
On top of that, I asked if they would be willing to re-join the ministry, only this time as an integral part of the team.
Now some of these people didn’t return but most of them did. And over the next 5 years, we experienced incredible growth together, not only in numbers but also spiritually.
I attribute most of that growth to developing a talented, collaborative team of leaders who were empowered to operate out of their strengths. When I shifted the focus from ME to WE, that’s when the magic happened.
If you realize you may be leading out of some insecurities, here’s my challenge: First – apologize to your team. Humbly admit your shortcomings and sincerely ask for their forgiveness.
Then – commit to becoming the kind of leader they desire you to be. Place your significance fully in your relationship with God and leverage the talent and ideas of your team.
I can promise you that your influence and impact will increase exponentially.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: This week Tom Skilling is guest posting on the Breeze blog. Tom is a brilliant strategist and critical thinker. He works in the adult ministries department of his church, runs his own blog, and is a life coach. You can find more about Tom at lifewithtom.com.