Leadership & People Management
Leadership Insecurities: 12 Steps To Overcome Them

Leadership Insecurities: 12 Steps To Overcome Them

Leadership Insecurities: 12 Steps To Overcome Them

You know, I rarely get personal with these posts, but this one hits home. We’re all insecure about something. Leaders or not. Yet, as leaders, it’s our responsibility to stay on top of these to overcome our insecurities. Of course, this is easier said than done.

Overcoming leadership insecurities will take you a lot of time. These are usually fed by some deep self-doubt in your personal life. And, as we know, fixing up your personal life while trying to manage a team and overworking on that new project is about as easy as getting out of bed on a freezing Monday morning.

Fear not, though. I’m here to help you take some effective digs at your insecurities and find a way to deal with them once and for all. After all, that’s the way to go forward. The way to become the leader you’ve aspired to be for so long.

The Fear Of Being Less – The Main Types Of Leadership Insecurities

Okay, so, for starters, let’s quickly define insecurities, just so we’re on the same page. Being insecure primarily means that you lack confidence in your abilities. But, instead of trying to improve your self-confidence, overcoming insecurities means destroying them from the core.

And there are quite a lot of them, at that. These, unfortunately, lead many leaders to have a manipulative or weak face. Or multiple of these.

I don’t mean that in a bad way, though. Everyone has insecurities. And, if you’re not trained to fight them, you’ll get knocked out in the first round, thus becoming one of these faces. Let’s find out which ones are the most common, per some of the main leadership insecurities.

The Controlling Leader

The control freak. The micromanager. The leader who wants their hands on everything work-related and thinks they're some form of Messiah. Okay, that might have been a bit harsh, but you get the point.

These are the leaders that are feared by everyone on the team. Leading with an iron fist and all that. Yet, from my point of view, their insecurities are quite clear. And, quite… personal.

You see, controlling leaders usually suffer from insecurities in their personal life. Whether social media or the workspace cultures they’ve worked in are at fault, they fear they’re not enough. And that comes out in their leadership style being condescending. They are the know-it-alls, the ones that are never wrong, and so on.

The Friendly Leader

Ah, yeah. Bob from Finance. The dude that everyone praises for how nice he is and how they love being part of the work culture he creates (even though they’ll leave the team in a few weeks’ time). What they don’t talk about is that Bob has been underperforming for the past 4 months, and the board isn’t happy with that.

The name friendly leader doesn’t do it justice, to be fair. It’s just that these leaders avoid conflict like it’s the plague. They’re incredible when they need to cheer up the team, but they don’t have the chops to actually… lead.

Friendly leaders are usually riddled with relationship insecurities. And it’s not really hard to gauge that. Their team does not really respect them. Plus, by avoiding conflict, they don’t punish any lousy behavior within the group, leading to a lot of employee turnover. And, on top of all this, when Bob’s outburst comes from all the bottled-up emotions, all hell breaks loose.

The Practical Leader

Okay, so, for the last face, I went for the practical leader. The toxic productivity type of executive who gets way more excited than they should when they make an above-average speech. You know, that dude from HR who prouds himself on working a bajillion hours a week and on the fact that he’s not had PTO in the past 5 years. Yeah, that guy.

I tend to call these the personification of a startup in 2020. Nobody really likes them, but they get the job done. And, quite better than anyone else. But, again, they’re not really leaders, as they only focus on work, work, work.

As you might have guessed, these leaders are full of professional insecurities. They’re usually workaholics who find all their pleasure in their achievements at work. And they often suffer from imposter syndrome, hence why they overwork.

If you find yourself having the traits of any of the 3 leaders, don’t worry. You’re not alone. And, though I might have been a bit harsh, this was just the truth. Do you want to know one more truth? You can change all this, even today! You just have to defeat the fear. The fear of being less. Your insecurities.

Find The Fear – The 4-Pointer Basis Of Dealing With Insecurities At Work

So, let me not waste your time. Let’s get straight into finding the fear. Finding the insecurities at work that are holding you back!


Self-reflection; the beginning of any good change. Something so practical yet so simple to do. Indeed, all you have to do to self-reflect is just spend some time doing nothing. Embracing boredom while you’re thinking about what inner demons are holding you back. This will find the root of the issue.

And that’s why self-reflection is so helpful. When you find the core of your insecurity, you can start climbing upward, chipping it piece by piece. You can look at your yesterday and understand how that affects your today to find how you can change your tomorrow.

Ask For Feedback

I know what you’re thinking. But, Alex, how will getting feedback help me find my problems? You know, the ones that nobody else knows! And, to that, I’ll give you a simple answer. All your insecurities are expressed in some way at work. After all, you’re a leader; most of your day is spent talking with people and trying to communicate effectively with them.

By learning what they truly believe about you, your work ethic, and so on, you can truly gauge how your insecurities are affecting your public self. The part of your personality that interacts with those not close to you. And this can help you truly change your actions, your mindset, and overcome your insecurities.

Set Goals

Alright, time to start getting into the more practical stuff. I think I’ve stressed this quite enough: setting goals is the start of any actionable plan to improve. Do you want to improve your self-confidence? Set goals around that. Overcoming insecurities? That also has a set of goals you can achieve. Like delegating tasks to your team, work on your work-life balance, and so on.

It’s these goals that’ll eventually drive you to change. Leaders who are goal-driven are much more likely to achieve greatness, improve their lives, and truly get rid of any insecurities haunting them at work.


And, to conclude this part, there’s no better way to see your change than by journaling. Self-reflect all you want, but if you don’t write that stuff down, it’ll probably end up in your subconscious. And then, you’ll need to spend another hour of mindfulness to resurface them.

With journaling, you have a straightforward journey. It’s kind of in the name. You can see where you were in the past and what you’ve achieved up until now. If you do everything right, that is.

Fight The Fear – Overcoming The Scourge Of Insecure Leadership

Are you ready to fight this beast? It’s not going to be an easy battle, but we’ll have to get through it!

Accept Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Alright, first up, we’ve got the acceptance stage. Look, nobody likes to admit that they’ve done something wrong or are not good at something, especially leaders. But, hey, you’ll have to accept that, as a person, as an executive, you have your strengths and weaknesses. Moreso, focusing on the weaknesses here.

It’s when you do so that you can approach the issue of insecurities with a new perspective. A new mindset. One that allows you to say, “Alright, I may not be the best, but I was good enough to reach this point, so what the hell?”.

Take Small, Actionable Steps

Once the acceptance is done, it’s time for the action to begin. And don’t expect any fancy battle here. No, no, we’re only centered on the small wins. The fast break layups, not the 3-pointers from downtown. And it’s these small actionable steps that you’ll need to celebrate, more so than actually reaching your goals.

You see, one of the biggest issues with any insecurity is that it clouds your mind to not see the small wins. You’re so focused on being the best, yet you don’t acknowledge when things are going as they should and take that for granted. So, appreciate and celebrate the small wins!

Learn To Always Learn

Here’s a piece of truth – the learning never stops. Especially not when you’re a leader. Think about it. Every day is a new challenge, a new lesson. It’s the school of life but for big shots like you and me. So, what do you do? You keep your ears and eyes open, always. Read a book, attend a workshop, chat with someone smarter than you.

The point is, keep feeding your brain. It’s your weapon against those insecurities. The more you know, the less you fear, right? Stay curious, stay hungry for knowledge. That’s how you stay on top.

Focus On The End Goal

Now, let’s talk about keeping your eyes on the prize. It’s easy to get lost in the everyday hustle and forget why you’re doing all this in the first place. Kind of counterintuitive with what I’ve said above, but hear me out.

Your end goal, whatever that may be, is your beacon. Don’t lose sight of it. It’s what keeps you moving forward, past all the self-doubt and insecurities. Every decision, every action, should be a step toward that goal. Of course, that should come with celebrating every small action and decision. Stay focused, stay driven. That goal isn’t going to achieve itself.

Feed On The Fear – Future-Proof Yourself Against Insecurities as a Leader

Alright, folks, we’re closing in on the end. It's time to talk about turning those fears into fuel for the future.

Growth Mindset All The Way

Here’s the secret sauce – the growth mindset. What is it? It’s believing you can get better, smarter, more efficient. It’s looking at a challenge and saying, “Bring it on”.

This mindset is your best defense against insecurities. It keeps you pushing boundaries, breaking barriers. Screw-ups? They’re just learning opportunities. Challenges? Just another day at the office. Keep this mindset, and you’ll keep growing, keep leading, keep winning.

Life Comes First

Remember this – you’re a human first, a leader second. Don’t let your work consume you. Find time for the things and people that matter. Hobbies, family, friends – they’re your anchors, your safe harbors.

A leader who’s got their life together is a leader who can conquer the world. Balance is key. Work hard, but live harder. Trust me, it makes all the difference.

Accept Your Insecurities

And, after 10 gruesome steps, let’ me hit you with the hard truth! Let’s face it – you’ve got insecurities. Who doesn’t? But here’s the kicker – accepting them is half the battle won. Don’t run from them. Face them. Understand them. Then, use that understanding to beat them.

It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being perfectly aware of your imperfections and dealing with them head-on. That’s the mark of a true leader.

R.I.D.E The WAVE Carrying Away Your Insecurities

That was quite the journey! Leadership insecurities are quite the beast, and, truth be told, they will always be there, hiding in the background. That’s why you should keep them in said background. Don’t let them take over – rather, use them to your advantage. Feed on them, fueling your next escapade.  But, Alex, you might say, where’s the 12th step?

Oh, shoot. I forgot about that. Every good leader needs help. Whether it’s work-life balance, overcoming their insecurities, or anything else, you’ll need some assistance. And that’s the 12th step. Assistan… no, wait. Coaching! Or, rather, the new term of coined: coAchIng (coaching with AI). And that’s where the tide turns into a beautiful Wave!

At Wave, we utilize AI to help you reach your goals, whatever they may be. Overcoming insecurities? Been there, done that! Achieving work-life balance and dealing with burnout? A walk in the park! So, let’s R.I.D.E. the Wave together, folks!

Interested in starting working on your goals? Book your first session now.

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