As a leader, people naturally have high expectations of you—knowing the answer to every problem, highly reliable, calm in the face of pressure. However, leaders are still regular employees who have to accomplish tasks but with increased accountability and expectations.
Whether you are already the head of a small department or handling a team of leaders, you still have your share of weaknesses. These shortcomings, however, should not hinder you from performing your duties well. Rather, they should be considered challenges that will shape you to become a better example to other employees.
Here are five insecurities most team leaders face and how to manage them:
“I am an introvert.”
It is common misconception that introverts cannot become successful leaders. However, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, and Abraham Lincoln are just some of the most respected introvert leaders in history and they were able to use it to their advantage.
Expressing yourself and being able to communicate well with your teammates is one quality you should learn to apply. You have to be in touch with the group to ensure that they are doing what they are supposed to do.
If you are not comfortable talking in front of many people, practice speaking to them one-on-one. Don’t have the time to talk to them individually? Converse in smaller groups and get more honest feedback from them.
“I am younger than some of my subordinates.”
When they said that age doesn’t matter, you have to believe it. What’s more important than seniority is the talent you continue to share with the company and the leadership skills that you can be proud of. If you are intimidated by the more experienced employees in your team and you feel that they won’t listen to you, they won’t. You have to first believe in your own capabilities.
You are given that position because the bosses believe that you can be the shepherd to the sheep in the company. Make that as an inspiration to prove that you are worthy of becoming an influencer. Be confident and become someone’s guiding light even if they are two decades older than you.
It doesn’t mean that just because you’re young (or younger than the others), you don’t deserve to be respected and be heard. Correct behavior, assign tasks, and give advice as if you are just the same age as everyone in your team.
“I just got promoted.”
Promotions should make you feel proud of yourself, but it can also make you feel scared of all the responsibilities you will be having. You are not yet familiar with the position and confused with where to start and how to do things. It is normal to be nervous of the uncertainties of your new position but it shouldn’t scare you for too long.
Be open with the changes that your new job entails. Accept the challenges with open arms because it will familiarize you with dealing with pressure in your position as a team leader. Have the initiative to research and explore the kind of work you will be doing so that you will easily grasp the new environment you have to deal with.
“My teammates are better than me.”
You have to acknowledge the fact that everyone has his own talents, and you have your own. Your teammate may be a better speaker than you are but she’s not as reliable as you when pressure comes from the higher-ups. As a team, you support each other’s strengths and weaknesses and try to fill in the position where your teammate is not good at.
If your subordinate is better than you on some areas, accept it. Being the captain of the ship does not automatically mean that you have to be the best in all sea-faring activities. Your job is to make sure that everyone’s doing their respective duties well to ensure a smooth-sailing ride. Becoming an expert in everything is not a prerequisite to becoming a good leader.
Be proud of your teammates if they are excelling in certain areas. Help them hone their skills and give them support when they need it because that’s what a leader is about.
“I have a hard time delegating work.”
Aside from the tasks you have to do for the day, you still have to read reports from your teammates and ensure that they meet their deadlines. You have to divide your hours to accomplish everything expected of you, but this can at times sacrifice quality or yield less results.
You may want to do all these things by yourself because you’re afraid your employees cannot do it or simply because you have a different way of doing things. Learn to give way and trust your team. If you believe in yourself as a leader, you also have to believe that you have taught them well.
Assign them work you know they can excel in. Delegating tasks is not a form of power-tripping; it is a way of training your team to do things they are not used to and saving yourself time for more important tasks.
What are your fears as a leader? How are you planning to handle them? Share them with us!