Competence Never Compensates for Insecurity
You can't lead people if you need people.
—John C. Maxwell
No man will make a great leader
who wants to do it all himself or get
all the credit for doing it.
—Andrew Carnegie, Industrialist
A Constitution of Iron and Security to Match
During the term of President Ronald Reagan, leaders of seven industrial nations were meeting at the White House to discuss economic policy. Reagan has recounted that during the meeting he came across Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau strongly upbraiding British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, telling her that she was all wrong and that her policies wouldn't work. She stood there in front of him with her head up, listening until he was finished. Then she walked away.
Following the confrontation, Reagan went up to her and said, "Maggie, he should never have spoken to you like that. He was out of line, just entirely out of line. Why did you let him get away with that?"
Thatcher looked at Reagan and answered, "A woman must know when a man is being simply childish."
That story surely typifies Margaret Thatcher. It takes a strong, secure person to succeed as a world leader. And that is especially true when the person is a woman.
Margaret Thatcher has continually swum upstream throughout her life. As a student at Oxford University, she majored in chemistry, a field dominated by men, and she became the first woman president of the Oxford University Conservative Association. A few years later, she qualified as a lawyer and practiced as a tax specialist.
In 1959, Thatcher entered politics, another overwhelmingly male profession, when she was elected a member of Parliament. Analytical, articulate, and calm under fire, she was frequently asked by her party to face opponents in debate. Her skill and conviction may have been fired by an attitude she learned from her father, who told her, "You don't follow the crowd; you make up your own mind."
Her strong resolve and high competence earned her several government posts. It was during her tenure as secretary of state for education and science that she was referred to as "the most unpopular woman in Britain." But Thatcher didn't waver under the criticism. She continued working hard and gaining people's respect. Her reward was being named the first female prime minister in the history of Britain.
In that position, she continued to face criticism. She weathered abuse for privatizing state-owned industries, reducing the role of organized labor, sending troops to the Falkland Islands, and maintaining conservative policies against the Soviet Union. But no matter how severely she was criticized, she remained secure in her convictions and maintained her self-respect. She once said, "To me consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes…. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner, 'I stand for consensus'?"
Thatcher stood for conviction in leadership. And as a result, the "Iron Lady," as she was called, was elected to three consecutive terms as prime minister. She is the only British leader of the modern era to achieve that.
Fleshing It Out
Margaret Thatcher appeared to have no doubts about herself or her beliefs—and she was absolutely secure in her leadership as a result. That is the case for all great leaders. No one can live on a level inconsistent with the way he sees himself. You may have observed that in people. If someone sees himself as a loser, he finds a way to lose. Anytime his success surpasses his security, the result is self-destruction. That's not only true for followers, but it's also true for leaders.
Insecure leaders are dangerous—to themselves, their followers, and the organizations they lead—because a leadership position amplifies personal flaws. Whatever negative baggage you have in life only gets more difficult to bear when you're trying to lead others.
Insecure leaders have several common traits:
1. They Don't Provide Security for Others
An old saying states, "You cannot give what you do not have." Just as people without skill cannot impart skill to others, people without security cannot make others feel secure. And for a person to become an effective leader, the kind that others want to follow, he needs to make his followers feel good about themselves.
2. They Take More from People than They Give
Insecure people are on a continual quest for validation, acknowledgment, and love. Because of that, their focus is on finding security, not instilling it in others. They are primarily takers rather than givers, and takers do not make good leaders.
3. They Continually Limit Their Best People
Show me an insecure leader, and I'll show you someone who cannot genuinely celebrate his people's victories. He might even prevent them from realizing any victories. Or he might take credit personally for the best work of his team. As I mention in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, only secure leaders give power to others. That's the Law of Empowerment. But an insecure leader hoards power. In fact, the better his people are, the more threatened he feels—and the harder he will work to limit their success and recognition.
4. They Continually Limit the Organization
When followers are undermined and receive no recognition, they become discouraged and eventually stop performing at their potential. And when that happens, the entire organization suffers.
In contrast, secure leaders are able to believe in others because they believe in themselves. They aren't arrogant; they know their own strengths and weaknesses and respect themselves. When their people perform well, they don't feel threatened. They go out of their way to bring the best people together and then build them up so that they will perform at the highest level. And when a secure leader's team succeeds, it brings him great joy. He sees that as the highest compliment he can receive for his leadership ability.
Reflecting on It
How well do you understand and respect yourself? Do you know your strengths and feel good about them? Have you recognized your weaknesses and accepted the ones you can't change? When a person realizes that he is created with a particular personality type and has unique gifts, he is better able to appreciate the strengths and successes of others.
How secure are you as a leader? When a follower has a great idea, do you support it or suppress it? Do you celebrate your people's victories? When your team succeeds, do you give the members credit? If not, you may be dealing with insecurity, and it could be limiting you, your team, and your organization.
Bringing It Home
To improve your security, do the following:
Know yourself. If you are the kind of person who is not naturally self-aware, take time to learn about yourself. Take a personality test, such as the ones created by Myers-Briggs or Florence Littauer. Ask several people who know you well to name your three greatest talents and your three greatest weaknesses. Don't defend yourself when you hear their answers; gather the information and then reflect on it.
Give away the credit. You may not believe that you can succeed if others receive the praise for the job your team is doing. Try it. If you assist others and acknowledge their contributions, you will help their careers, lift their morale, and improve the organization. And it will make you look like an effective leader.
Get some help. If you cannot overcome feelings of insecurity on your own, seek professional help. Get to the root of your problems with the assistance of a good counselor, not only for your own benefit but also for that of your people.
French novelist Honore de Balzac was a keen observer of human nature, and he sought to capture a complete picture of modern civilization in his huge work The Human Comedy. He once observed, "Nothing is a greater impediment to being on good terms with others than being ill at ease with yourself." Don't let insecurity prevent you from reaching your potential.
A SPIRITUAL LEADER MUST BE SECURE IN WHAT HE TEACHES; HE MUST BE EVER WILLING TO BE CORRECTED AS HE STUDIES THE WORD OF GOD, HE MUST ALWAYS BE MOVING IN THE WAY OF SECURITY IN SPIRITUAL MATTERS, SO THE PEOPLE HE IS LEADING CAN ALSO BE SECURE.
A GOOD SPIRITUAL LEADER REALIZES HE IS NOT THE “ALL IN ALL” ON ALL CHRISTIAN TOPICS. HE KNOWS OTHERS HAVE SPIRITUAL INSIGHTS ON CHRISTIAN TOPICS THAT HE CAN USE AND SHARE TO THE BETTERMENT OF ALL. HENCE HE IS ALWAYS READING BOOKS AND ARTICLES BY ANYONE.
I PERSONALLY HAVE NOT BE CALLED TO WRITE ON EVERYTHING THAT THERE IS TO WRITE ON CHRISTIAN TOPICS. SO MY WEBSITE IS FULL OF THE INSIGHTS OTHERS HAVE ON VARIOUS TOPICS. AND I FEEL BLESSED TO HAVE THEIR INSIGHT. I KNOW THEN THAT ALL THE PEOPLE WHO COME TO MY WEBSITE TO READ SPIRITUAL MATTERS FOR TRUE CHRISTIANS, ARE BLESSED ALSO. I PRAY REGULARLY TO THE FATHER TO GUIDE ME INTO WHAT I UPLOAD TO THIS WEBSITE. I AM SECURE THAT ALL STUDIES ON THIS SITE ARE THERE ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD AND HIS SON CHRIST JESUS.