Executive Insecurity

It is a paradox of leadership – and perhaps of humanity – that some of those with the most power and influence over others also bear the most insecurity when it comes to seeing themselves in the mirror.

For some of us, the lessons, disappointments and lasting memories of childhood will forever hold us in their grip, limiting our performance and potential as adults because they prejudice how we respond to change and conflict.

For others, the pressure of being responsible for so much is itself a great weight on the hearts and minds of men and women who sometimes question their own credibility and capacity to lead.

Ask anyone who has spent time with executive leaders and they’ll tell you that even the most outwardly confident and bold leaders have – at times – struggled in balancing how others view them with their own sense of self.

This is particularly true for even more global leaders when they wake up one day and find they’re unemployed through no fault of their own.

Perhaps in large part because so many of us define ourselves by the work we do, the titles we hold and the incomes we earn, we become confused and susceptible to even deeper levels of self doubt when the environment or conditions we’ve been working in are suddenly changed with no forewarning.

Even the most accomplished business leader could wake up one day and realise that he or she is suddenly on the outside looking in. Particularly in large, global corporations, a track record of performance may simply not hold up to the pressure of a new boss, a new business strategy or someone else’s desire for change.

Executive insecurity threatens our state of mind whenever we’re forced to consider reinventing ourselves to make us look more attractive for that next executive role, or perhaps even a new personal relationship.

Yet this is when our inner strength must be summoned. Much in the same way it’s been said that leaders shouldn’t get too high after a series of wins or too low after a series of losses, we must find that equilibrium within whenever the dynamics around us force us to take a hard look in the mirror.

Staying grounded when you’re seemingly on top of the world goes a long way when the ground beneath your feet seemingly gives way. Knowing yourself better – warts and all – helps bring clarity when we’re feeling confused.

Great leaders know when to laugh at themselves. They also realise that seeing themselves more clearly as people, friends, family members part of a bigger community brings security even when their next career step is uncertain.

Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2014

 

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