What Is An Insecure Leader?

It doesn’t matter how good you think you are, if you are insecure as a leader then your skills will account to nothing

As you start growing and striving towards becoming a highly effective leader, you will start to feel less stressed about work, and other areas of your life. Personal growth, and working on yourself deliberately is what will help you become that highly effective leader. It will also help you to become a secure leader.

When you become a secure leader, you will start to feel less threatened by other leaders or “managers”. The reason being is, you know in your heart that you are consistently and deliberately working on yourself every day to improve. They are not.

You are now in charge of your own personal growth and development. You are now in total control, and your mind will start to become clearer. You will not have to worry or be stressed about the little things anymore. The other managers who you work with are just “plodding along” day to day, and trying to see out each shift.

They are the insecure ones. I noticed it a lot throughout my career, the insecure leaders are the ones who do a lot of “brown nosing,” and accuse others of stabbing them in the back. They do this to try to get ahead of the other managers in the organisation. But really, they are so naïve because they have no idea how to really get ahead.

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Unfortunately in the business and corporate world, these are the kind of things that insecure leaders and managers do. They do this because it is the only way they think they can progress in their careers.

Did you notice that I used the word progress and not grow? The reason for that is because they are not growing at all, they are simply stagnant.

These insecure leaders are the ones that cause issues within the team and the organisation. However, a secure leader would remove the same issues.

1. The Insecure Leader

We will now discuss what an insecure leader does and how you can notice them.

Throughout my career I have changed jobs for my number 1 reason; to continue growing. However, on some occasions I have left for 2 reasons, and the other reason was the relationship I had with my boss. I would always do my best to make a difference within the team, and the organisation.

But, for some reason with a number of my old bosses they didn’t like it. I put it down to them being insecure. They didn’t like others getting ahead of them or suggesting new ideas that might work. There has been research done throughout the world on this subject.

From this research, it has been found that the main reason that people quit jobs, is because of the relationship with their boss. This is a very sad situation because a leader’s purpose is to build trust and relationships with their team.

It is also to help lift themselves, the team, and the organisation to higher levels. It is not to make people quit. Relationship breakdowns between a leader and a team member is definitely a trait of an insecure leader.

When a manager takes on a new team, their first and most important task is to build a relationship with each team member. It is not to assign tasks right away. It is not to tell them what to do. These are traits of an insecure leader.

2. Taking Responsibility For Your People

If a manager does not want to build a relationship with their team, then this creates distrust between them and other members of the organisation. You can also tell an insecure leader because he/she will actually blame their own team if things go wrong, or they are getting poor results.

They are not willing to take the responsibility for it. You will also notice that when the team does well and achieves good results, who is the first person to take the credit? You guessed it, the insecure leader. So over time the team will start to behave in a similar way to the insecure leader.

The team will not be willing to help the organisation with their ideas. The team will only do what is required, and will not go that extra mile for their insecure leader. The team will only follow their insecure leader because they have to, not because they want to.

For a team and an organisation to thrive, communication between everyone is absolutely essential. How we communicate to each other is most important. We MUST be clear on exactly what we need to do to get the job done to the best of our ability.

However, an insecure leader is very reluctant to communicate in that way. An insecure leader will only share with their team the bare minimum of what is required to get the job finished. They do this so that nobody in the team will need to share their ideas to make the job better, or achieve better results.

If an insecure leader were to share everything with their team, their boss, and the organisation, then that will risk others getting ahead of them. An insecure leader cannot have anybody getting ahead, as we have discussed.

3. Blame Culture

Have you ever worked, or do you work in a place where the phrase “this is a no blame culture” is over used, by almost everybody? That is a sign that you work among insecure leaders. The fact that they over use this phrase actually means that it is a blame culture. If there was no blame culture, why even mention it?

Insecure leaders are very quick to blame anyone other than themselves. They will blame their own team, their own boss, the leader of the organisation and other people within the organisation.

So, what happens is everyone takes a lot of time to defend themselves from being blamed. Whereas if the leader took responsibility, the situation would be finished, and we could all move on very quickly.

Most managers in every industry in the world think that because they are “leading” the team, that they should have all the answers. They also think that they should have all the ideas. Nothing could be further from the truth of leadership.

As I have said, and will say on many occasions, a leader’s role is not to be served, but to serve their people. An insecure leader will not allow their team to share ideas or information, because it might expose their lack of knowledge.

4. Teamwork

An insecure leader hates nothing more than to be challenged. So, if the team are not “allowed” to share ideas, or even think, then they will not be able to challenge the insecure leader. The main point here is, the team will not work together as a team.

There will be no teamwork, just a bunch of individuals working for the same insecure leader. Teamwork is not what the insecure leader wants, so it will not be encouraged by any means necessary.

Does your boss help to develop you so that one day you can do their job? If they are then that is great. However, most managers will not do this. Insecure leaders cannot develop their team because if they do, that will make the person they are developing a threat to them.

An insecure leader cannot be threatened in anyway and will avoid it at all costs. Unfortunately that cost is usually an under developed and unhappy team. So what the insecure leader gets is a group of insecure individuals, who will only do what is necessary to do the job.

For the insecure leader this is great, because that is exactly what the insecure leader wants.

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Overall, after everything we have discussed so far about insecure leaders, what do we get? We get a “team” and an organisation with extremely low morale, no confidence, insecure, unhappy and angry. They are not the traits of a team.

They are the traits of a group of individuals who work for a very insecure leader. The future for the team and the organisation would not look great, and this is the responsibility of the insecure leader. When the team first came to the company, they were excited and hopeful for the future, and how they can advance themselves in their career.

They will have been looking for opportunities to learn and grow. But all this hope will have been drained out of them by the insecure leader.

All in all, an insecure leader is toxic inside an organisation. Please ensure that this is not you in the organisation you work with.

As a leader, it is okay not to know the answer. That is a sign of a secure leader. If you say you do know the answer when you don’t, then that is a sign of an insecure leader. The organisation needs secure leaders, so be honest with them at all times when you are challenged. If you don’t know then say you don’t.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

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All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

18 thoughts on “What Is An Insecure Leader?

  1. “…you know in your heart that you are consistently and deliberately working on yourself every day to improve.”

    This is so true, and I applaud you for shedding light on this saying.

    Constant improval, perseverance, and hard work (above all else) are just some of the things that will shape us into strong and independent leaders.

    I would also add the action to face your fears to the equation, just to make it complete.

    I’ve been a reader of your blog for quite some time now, and your content never seems to disappoint.

    I’m so happy that I got your e-book. It has been life-changing for me, and I strongly recommend it to anyone that’s thriving to become a leader. (in any field).

    Thanks for crafting such a fantastic article, Tom. I had a blast reading it. 🙂

    1. Hi Gorjan,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found this article to be valuable.

      I am so grateful for your amazing comments regarding my articles and it really does warm my heart that you found my E-Book life changing and I love how you have recommended it. Thank you so much for that.

      I completely agree that facing our fears is also we must do as leaders, and we must work on trying overcome those fears.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. I have always suspected the present leader of the US to be very insecure and your article confirms my ideas around that. 🙂
    Sometimes we can be in real big trouble having an insecure leader, because my guess is insecure leaders will produce insecure group members. And if everyone is feeling a victim, nobody will grow.
    Dividing people, what will happen in a blame culture, brings an unsafe and wearisome atmosphere. Where bonding brings a warm and friendly atmosphere.
    Just my 2 cents. No memories this time when reading your article, Tom, but more philosophical thoughts. 🙂
    As always a pleasant read!

    1. Hi Hannie,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleaded that you found this article a pleasant read.

      You are right, an insecure will definitely produce insecure team members and a toxic culture within the team. Their influence is negative which will enable the team members to develop a negative attitude.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. Hi Tom,

    The more I read of this article the more deeply it resonated with me.

    Hopefully not so much my own leadership skills, but those of an ex-boss and a number of my peers.

    In fact, the first ever Bank I worked for could well have been the final one too, as I loved the job, the culture, and everything about the company.

    However, my final year at the company, we had a new Regional Manager, who had a fearsome reputation within the organisation.

    Nevertheless, I didn’t want to have any preconceived ideas about him, and continued to work in a way that I always had done (which had drawn various compliments from previous bosses, and had even won me a number of awards), but I had always been open to change.

    With that said, our new boss seemed to want to rule with an iron fist, and it was typically his way or the highway (an option that I myself and many other managers under his leadership decided to take, it’s a shame really).

    You’ve covered some very important aspects of being a great leader here, but unfortunately it’s not a route that everyone always takes.

    I also felt that without my team I was nothing, and if things went wrong then the first place I’d look was at myself, and to see if there were ways I could make improvements in myself before casting an eye on anyone else.

    I think many companies seem to carry the “blame culture”, but I’ve believed it’s more important to see things from everyone’s perspective rather than blaming those around you.

    Plenty of food for thought here Tom.

    Partha

    1. Hi Partha,

      Thank you very much for your thorough comment. I’m so pleased that you found this article valuable and that you found a lot of food for thought.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences in your place of work with us because there will be a lot of reader’s of this article who will be able to resonate with you. So, they can learn from you aswell as me, which is the whole point of having comments on these articles.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. You can tell a good leader but how well the team performs when she/he is not around.
    This is a very enlightening article, thanks for the refresher!

    1. Hi Andrea,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found this article refreshing.

      I completely agree that a good leader is present even when they’re not around, and you can tell that by how well the team perform and collaborate with each other.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. Tom, you are so on point with everything you have mentioned in this post.

    You can’t help but think most people actually hate their jobs, becomes a bind and a means to an end which is so noticeable and has a huge impact on how the team work.

    Brown nosing; I have seen that more often than I care to remember who will always take the praise when things go right and blame others when they don’t.

    One of the reasons and office politics why I decided to venture out on my own as a freelancer.

    Whenever I read your work it instantly brings me back to times as a fulltime employee.

    Great post my friend

    Mick

    1. Hi Mick,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you thought his article was on point.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences, especially with witnessing “brown nosing” from people and that most people hating their jobs. It’s sad to think that this is the case and this is something that I want to help change.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  6. What a great post. I’ve had my share of insecure managers. They blame others for their failing, try to embarrass you in front of others, and basically, just bully. I choose not to work with bosses like that. I agree with you though, the best managers are the the ones that continually work on themselves. I’m not a manager, but I have a daily practice of asking myself at the end of the day, what did I do well and what could I have done better? Was I kind towards all? Do I owe someone amends? When I wake up I ask myself, what can I bring to the table?

    1. Hi Shalisha,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found this a great article.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences of insecure managers. I too have had mine and I still know them. Bullying is something that happens a lot in my industry, and is something we need to phase out as quick as we can.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  7. Hi, Tom,

    You have put in this post enough food for thought.

    I have a question from the perspective of a person who is a potential employee looking for a job position where he/she will be offered opportunities for career growth.

    I believe every self-respecting company should provide career growth to its employees.

    However, that’s not always the case.

    My question is: are there any signs worth taking into consideration during the process of employment that could possibly indicate that even though career growth is being promised, this promise will unlikely be respected further on?

    Can we be observant enough to see those signs in order to not get into a company that is not a totally perfect fit for us?

    I appreciate your feedback on this!

    Ionut

    1. Hi Ionut,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you find a lot of food for thought in this article.

      To answer your question. The only sign I have seen when I have been promised some sort of career growth or prospect is, has it happened or not in the timescale they promised you? If they don’t offer you a timescale for this growth, then you must ask them for one and hold them to account on this timescale.

      Let me know if you do have a timescale and if you need any further help then just ask.

      All the best,

      Tom

  8. Wow, Tom,
    we have been thinking about what you have said insecure leaders blame others for their actions. Don’t ever want to take responsibility for their own actions,
    Well like you said the insecure ones always talk about following rules they go overboard with it. This takes place in almost every job there are too many fake leaders that abuse power.
    We agree with you a leader just get s in there and gets it done no matter the circumstances.

    Cheers,
    Mathew&Deloris

    1. Hi Mathew and Deloris,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m do pleased that you found the article valuable.

      It’s great that this article has made you think about the actions of an insecure leader and not taking responsibility for them. Whatever you do please ensure that this isn’t you. I know you take responsibility for your actions like a good leader does.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  9. Thanks for the article Tom.

    I know from experience owning up to my mistakes goes a long way in developing trust. I try not to blame others (even when it is their fault). Nobody respects someone is who always pointing fingers at someone else.

    Getting to know your crew before assaulting them with orders seems like a good idea. Getting everyone together and discussing plans for the future is a good idea. Give them a moment to let that sink in and then start implementing changes.

    Emotionally mature people are better at leading organizations than brown nosers who will throw you under the bus in a New York minute.

    many blessings… Brian

    1. Hi Brian,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m happy that you found the article thought provoking.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences with us as a lot of people will be able to relate. You are right, owning up to and taking responsibility for your mistakes does go a long way.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

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