The tremendous insecurity of King Herod became apparent when strangers announced Jesus’ birth. Upon hearing the news, Herod grew angry, impatient, self-consumed and disturbed – all signs of an insecure leader.
Insecure leaders share several common traits:
- They don’t provide security for others.
- They take more than they give.
- The continually limit their best people.
- They continually limit or sabotage their organization’s success.
- They spend more energy trying to keep their job than to do their job.
Effective leadership begins with an emotionally and spiritually healthy leader. Why is this true? Why must we focus on our own personal security?
Consider several reasons:
- Leadership must flow out of who we are, not only what we do.
- Strong character is necessary to sustain strong conduct.
- Insecure leaders cause their organization to plateau.
- Personal security provides the infrastructure to support leaders in adversity.
- Insecure leaders will never empower and develop secure followers.
- Inward strength provides the only hope of finishing well.
Most of us struggle with feelings of insecurity. Leadership roles, however, work like a magnifying glass on our personal insecurity, blowing everything out of proportion because we know everyone is watching. We tend to react by trying to cover up our flaws rather than being honest. This is yet another reason why leaders must commit to laying a foundation of strong personal security.
None of us ever grow beyond four fundamental human needs:
- The need for a sense of worth: if missing, we feel inferior.
- The need for belonging: if missing, we feel insecure.
- The need for purpose: if missing we feel illegitimate.
- The need for competence: if missing we feel inadequate.
How, then, should we respond to this critical issue of insecurity?
- Leaders should settle this issue with God before they reach positions of influence.
- Our personal worth and security come from our relationship with God.
- We should never place our emotional health in the hands of another.
- We must release people from the expectation that they will meet our basic needs.
We become healthy leaders only when we don’t expect others to meet the needs that only God can meet.
The Maxwell Leadership Bible