Am I An Insecure Manager?
All leaders and managers will make mistakes from time to time, feel lost and swamped by it all and will need to pick themselves up when this happens. That is part of the management game!
More worryingly a prolonged lack of confidence and insecurity needs to be challenged and resolved as this will severely impact upon your ability to make effective decisions and behave inappropriately with those around you.
Ask yourself the following questions about your management style:
- Am I refusing to take advice?
Teams work better when they feel as if they can speak up freely. There is a better chance of improving your team’s performance when you are not the only person coming up with good ideas.
An insecure leader will stop taking input from their team, because they feel as if this lets people challenge their authority.
- Have I stopped explaining my decisions?
Confident leaders are comfortable with, and never shy away from explaining the reasons behind their decisions. This demonstrates a level of confidence and security as they are not concerned about being wrong.
An insecure leader will stop explaining decisions because it gives people a chance to criticise them. They think being less open will reduce the chance of anyone criticising them.
- Have I stopped asking for help?
Do you consider that asking for help is a sign of weakness? An insecure leader really feels that they should know everything about everything!
- Am I uncomfortable in receiving feedback?
An insecure leader will always fear feedback and consider that actually asking for it opens them up to a level of criticism and attack that they are not comfortable with.
Insecure leaders also stop giving feedback. They feel that if they provide bad feedback to somebody, that person could reciprocate and produce a level of criticism that they consider threatening and/or irrelevant.
Instead, complete silence is the norm where no feedback is given in either direction.
- Have I become very autocratic and directing?
Insecure managers will always revert back to a position where they are excessively controlling, demanding and directing. In some circumstances this is a necessary tool that can be used but if this has now become the norm then something has to change about your style.
Insecure leaders use this style all the time because it is harder for people to disagree and cuts out the possibility of critical feedback. Insecure leaders hide behind this shield whilst feeling vulnerable or scared of being “found out”.
Find a trusted employee who will give you an honest answer and ask if your management style has changed recently BUT be prepared for some (possibly) uncomfortable information.
- Are you deliberately avoiding confrontation and challenge?
Do you avoid any situation where your authority might be challenged or your knowledge and expertise put to the test?
- Are you asking fewer questions?
By reducing the number and complexity of questions that you are asking you avoid the possibility that gaps in your knowledge will be exposed.
In a healthy management style, it is healthy and appropriate to ask questions and to be comfortable when others know more and have greater expertise or experience. You cannot, and should not, be expected to know “everything”.
- Have you become a Micromanager?
Insecure leaders love control.
Control can reduce the chance of being exposed and challenged. Micromanagement is one way to keep control by directing your team as to how they should do things.
Before long, the insecure leader has convinced the team that their opinions are irrelevant and unwelcome, meaning that challenge is unlikely which generates safety for the insecure manager.
- Are you taking credit for the outcomes of your team?
Insecure leaders like to take credit for the work of their team as this makes them feel safe and makes them look highly productive and an essential part of the organisation.
Taking the credit is not about glory for an insecure leader, it is a way to reduce the risk of being “found out”.
- Do you get angry when staff leave?
When there is any staff turnover this creates ripples of uncertainty for the insecure manager as they will automatically turn this around and ask questions:
- Was it my fault?
- Did I do something wrong?
- Am I a bad leader?
Inevitably this will lead to a position where there is a focus onto the faults of others (ungrateful staff, staff lacking loyalty, etc.) rather than looking positively about staff leaving to progress in their careers.
It is not my fault. It is their fault.
Pay attention to this list. Sometimes you’ll find yourself resorting to insecure behaviour without even knowing it. Just because you feel insecure, does not mean that you need to act that way.
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