Article Display
Email  |  My Account  |  Donate
If we were honest with each other, most of us would have to admit that we have at least one or two areas of personal insecurity in our lives. For some, these insecurities might be related to appearance—a big nose, a receding hairline, or a weight issue.

Other people might be insecure about their public speaking skills, their cooking talents, their technical aptitude, their athletic prowess, their family background, their ability to relate to peers, or their social status.

Most well-adjusted people are able to deal with these insecurities in a healthy manner. They look for ways to improve themselves, they accept the reality of the situation and try to make the best of it, or they choose not to let whatever might cause them to feel insecure bother them too much.

Other people let their insecurities rule their lives. We all know people like this. They're often very negative—about themselves and everything else. They're always comparing themselves to other people, and they frequently put others down to make themselves look better. They don't refresh or affirm the people around them; they tend to drain and exhaust them.

These people can be tough to have as coworkers, relatives and friends, but—hear me now—they're terrible as leaders. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that few things are worse than an insecure leader.

That's a bold statement, so let me back it up with a list of characteristics that insecure leaders have in common that make them so ineffective.
  1. They want control.
    Control is everything to insecure people; the thought of giving it up by empowering others or delegating important responsibilities scares them to death.

  2. They fear public failure.
    As a result, they will do absolutely anything to avoid being embarrassed by doing something stupid in front of others.

  3. They avoid risk.
    They would rather not try and not know, even if it means missing out on great success and growth.

  4. They are closed in their relationships.
    They don't open up because they fear rejection.

  5. They do not hire 10's.
    If they did, they'd run the risk of being shown up. So instead of hiring top-notch people, they surround themselves with mediocrity.

  6. They resist change.
    Keeping the status quo helps them maintain control, or so they think.

  7. They fail to affirm and empower others.
    Many insecure people weren't affirmed or empowered during critical phases of life. As a result, they're practically incapable of nurturing the people they lead.

  8. They stay in their comfort zone.
    To leave it invites risk and change—what more can I say?

  9. They view people and situations through their insecurities.
    Consequently, what they see never totally matches up with reality, and more often than not, it's completely skewed.

  10. They create an environment of insecurity.
    This makes the people they lead confused and unsettled because they never know what's going to happen next.
Do you understand why I say few things are worse than an insecure leader? Granted, these people might be able to fake their way through their leadership responsibilities in the short-term, but in the long run, they usually end up hurting themselves, and they always take others down with them.

Now for some good news. If you found yourself identifying with some or all of the characteristics in this list—if you suspect you might qualify as an insecure leader—there is still hope for you. You've taken the first very large step toward overcoming this debilitating problem—you've recognized that it is a problem in your life.

So do you do next? Here are four suggestions:

1. Seek professional help.
Find a good counselor, and figure out a way to get off the roller coaster of personal insecurity. You owe it to yourself, the people you lead, and the people you love.

2. Identify your areas of insecurity.
The counselor will help you do this, and he or she will also give you practical ways to overcome your insecurities.

3. Allow a trusted friend to help you.
This will mean opening up about your deepest insecurities, but it's always easier to battle this kind of problem with a supportive friend than it is to do it alone.

4. Develop a complementary friend.
If your trusted friend also complements your insecurities and helps make up for some of your weaknesses, you'll be well on your way to overcoming this problem.

It won't happen overnight, but when you finally learn to deal with or even eliminate your personal insecurities, you'll be amazed at the difference it makes in your life and in the lives of the people you lead.

This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's
free monthly e-newsletter: Leadership Wired
available at

Author Biography

John C. Maxwell
Web site: Injoy Group
John Maxwell grew up in the 1950s in the small Midwestern city of Circleville, Ohio. John's earliest childhood memory is of knowing that he would someday be a pastor. He professed faith in Christ at the age of three, and reaffirmed that commitment when he was 13. At age 17, John began preparing for the ministry. He attended Circleville Bible College, earning his bachelor's degree in 1969. In June of that same year, he married his sweetheart, Margaret, and moved to tiny Hillham, Indiana, where he began his first pastorate.

About Us

The online ministry of cfaith has been helping people discover faith, friends and freedom in the Word since 2000. Cfaith provides a unique and comprehensive collection of faith-building resources for the worldwide faith community.

At cfaith, you can strengthen your faith and deepen your understanding of the Word of God by digging into the vast collection of teaching articles, streaming audio and video messages, and daily devotionals. No other website offers such a unique and extensive collection of spiritual-growth resources aimed at helping you grow in your knowledge of the Word.




Support Us

Why support cfaith?

(All contributions are 100% tax deductible)


For every Internet search you make using
goodsearch, cfaith will receive one penny!

GS Logo 250x38

Contact Us

Business Hours:

Monday—Friday: 9 a.m.—5 p.m. CST
Saturday & Sunday: Closed


(763) 488-7800 or (800) 748-8107

Mailing Address:
9201 75th Avenue North
Brooklyn Park, MN 55428


Login Form

Please ignore the “Secret Key” field; it is not needed to log in to cfaith.

Login Change Article

You need to enable user registration from User Manager/Options in the backend of Joomla before this module will activate.