Part 3 of 4
We are making steps to become reliable leaders who choose to stand rather than compromise. The journey continues, but this time, we are looking inwards. Deep down inside of every one of us, a little voice tells us that we are not worthy of positions of leadership or we are not qualified to do what we are doing. Then in reality, we are faced with situations that confirm that the little voice inside our hearts is telling the truth. That voice has a name: insecurity. Believing these false “truths” can leave us defeated and devalued. If we decide to stay in this place of defeat, we hinder ourselves and our progress. Our inner reservoir begins to run low, and if left unchecked, we run empty. Soon, those around us begin to feel our retreat and stagnation. In fact, they will not even “feel” us anymore, because there would be no water pouring unto them.
We have a choice.
When we run low, we can get a refill. When insecurity threatens to pull us under, we can rise above and choose security instead. Speak the truth to yourself, get up and keep going. Morgan Harper Nichols quotes, “Do your best while also remembering: your worth is not attached to what you accomplish.” You are worthy of the role you play. You are qualified to lead.
Here are 3 actions you can practice as you journey to become a leader who waters others.
1. Celebrate the things you’re good at
Are you skilled in planning and strategizing? Are you a great implementer of projects? Do you have fantastic negotiation skills and can champion a cause for your team? Do you excel at public speaking to rally a crowd to action? Whatever your superpower, use it for the good of your team and the mission to be accomplished.
Serial e-commerce entrepreneur and author Scott Bintz advised, “You can’t be everything and do good at it. Focus on what you do really well. Let others help you with what you are not good at.” Similarly, as a leader, you will not be skilled at everything but you can become highly skilled at something. The sooner you accept this, the better your team will be as you become a more secure leader.
2. Look out for the areas where you have low self-esteem
Scott Bintz’ second point is strongly encouraged here: “Let others help you with what you are not good at.” We can sometimes feel insecure about the areas of our weakness and shortcomings, which trigger low self-esteem. Therefore, we might end up seeking out persons who are weaker than us in that same area, so that they will not make us look bad or feel bad about ourselves. But if we are struggling in that area, and within the group, we are “the best” in it, how will anyone grow?
It takes courage to be honest with ourselves about our areas of low self-esteem as leaders. Self-awareness in this area keeps us from secretly and unknowingly sabotaging ourselves and others. It then takes much more courage to let others help us in those areas. But if our vision is on seeing the entire team refreshed and watered, the journey through the awkwardness and discomfort of being vulnerable will actually benefit our team in the long-run. Trust has a better chance of growing in an atmosphere of openness and interdependence.
3. Invest in yourself
In our first point, I encouraged you to celebrate what you are good at. Once you have identified what you are good at, become great at it! If you find that you are comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, but your communication is not clear and persons are left feeling confused, sign up for a public speaking course or lecture to sharpen your skills. Do you have a knack for making persons feel welcomed? Read a book on building company culture to inspire others to create the kind of atmosphere where persons feel welcomed. In the parable of the talents that Jesus told in Matthew 25, two servants were in a “good” position but they made the investment to double what their masters had given them, for better. As leaders, we can do the same, for the sake of those under our care.
I am challenging the thought that it is selfish celebrate your strengths, reflect on your areas of weakness and make investments for your growth. Your motive for expending this kind of energy on yourself is to be able to pour out more to others in service, than to take from others for your own benefit. Choose security over insecurity.
 Bintz, S. (2018). Principles to fortune: Crafting a culture to massively grow your business. Red Headed Rebel Publishing
The Leadership Series
Part 1 of 4: Leadership: First Things First
Part 2 of 4: It's the Choices We Make
Part 4 of 4: Grow in Self-Discipline