C-Suite Advisory

How do Leaders Overcome their Insecurities?

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  Do the thing you think you cannot do.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Leaders including Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Fidel Castro, and John F Kennedy had insecurities. Leaders are ordinary individuals with an extraordinary ability to lead others. They are like any other ordinary individuals with extra anxieties, insecurities, and superstitions. The stronger the leaders, the stronger their strengths and weaknesses are! Narcissistic leaders have more insecurities and need constant assurances from all quarters to feel secure. In this regard, we will discuss leaders who practiced abnormal activities and adopted eccentric practices to overcome their insecurities.

The founder of fascism, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s sexual encounters with many women to overcome his insecurities is noteworthy.  He had an insecurity that he was short in height. He bedded with several women to overcome his inferiority complex and insecurity. He enjoyed sex with multiple partners at a time. Some of them volunteered to have sex with him as they considered him their hero.

Adolf Hitler had his own share of insecurities. After seeing Mussolini’s death, he feared that he would face similar humiliation. Hence, he committed suicide along with Eva Braun to avoid humiliation at the hands of his detractors.

Cuba’s charismatic leader, Fidel Castro slept with more than one woman to overcome his insecurities. He didn’t sleep with the same woman again. John F Kennedy had his own share of sexual encounters to overcome his insecurities. He survived them due to his charm and charismatic leadership. Michael Jackson had insecurity about his appearance and underwent plastic surgery. At the end of his life, he was a broken man.

Giacomo Casanova was a soldier, adventurer, entrepreneur, and author. He made love with many women including young girls and nuns to overcome his insecurities. His name is a synonym for every playboy philanderer. Some of the men in today’s world want to become Casanovas which indicates the impact he has left in the world. He had an uncanny ability to touch the hearts of the women rather than their bodies with his attention, care, respect, and speaking skills. Hence, women were interested in him.

It is obvious from these examples that every individual has their hidden stories and celebrities have even more shocking stories. The life of celebrities is not a bed of roses as viewed by others. They may be happy externally but they have several challenges, issues, and controversies internally. They cannot share everything in public because the media creates a mountain out of a molehill.

Several film stars, leaders, and celebrities have their own insecurities. They overcome through abnormal practices. As long as the means to overcome their insecurities are healthy, there is no cause for concern. However, when they adopt eccentric and unhealthy practices causing harm to others, they lose their credibility as leaders.

Insecure Leaders and their Characteristics

Insecure leaders are problematic to others. They are self-centered, mean-spirited, selfish, paranoid, and scared of accepting the realities in life. They are surrounded by a coterie and enjoy listening to sugarcoated stories and hearing good reports about them. They are pampered by their die-hard followers.

Insecure leaders don’t accept challenges. They are part of the problems, not solutions. They look for scapegoats for their failures. They are smart in words, not in deeds. They blow their own trumpets. They stay away from conflicts. They don’t appreciate criticism. They are averse to feedback. They live life with blinders on. They operate behind the screens. They evolve as insecure individuals due to their bitter or unpleasant experiences during their formative years.

When insecure leaders want to overcome their insecurities to grow as secure and healthy leaders, they must hire coaches or mentors or seek professional advice from their confidential connections.

Insecure Leaders versus Secure Leaders

Insecure leaders don’t share the information while secure leaders share the information to develop the systems, structures, and people around them. Insecure leaders don’t take risks while secure leaders take calculated risks. Insecure leaders don’t build leaders around them as they are scared of being overthrown while the secure leaders build leaders around them to groom the next generation of leaders. Insecure leaders look back while the secure leaders look forward. Insecure leaders keep their interests above others’ interests while secure leaders keep others’ interests above their interests. In a nutshell, insecure leaders take fame during success spread blame during failure while secure leaders spread fame during success and take blame during failure.

Tips to Overcome Your Insecurities

Accept the fact that insecurity is an integral part of life. With growing technology globally and increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, it is tough to eliminate insecurities entirely. What people can do is to accept the realities and appreciate the fact that everyone has insecurities.  Here are some tips to overcome your insecurities.

  • Understand your personality first.
  • Identify what is holding you back.
  • Overcome your inner critic.
  • Replace your inner negative dialogue with positive dialogue.
  • Visualize yourself as a successful and healthy person.
  • Believe in yourself to enhance your self-esteem.
  • Take responsibility. Avoid inventing excuses. Don’t blame the circumstances and the people around you.
  • Get rid of superstitions.
  • Build a strong team of loyal people around you to take feedback regularly.
  • Maintain a journal to write your ideas and actions to reflect and improve them.
  • Convert your scars into stars.
  • Consider life beautiful.

Don’t compare with others. Be part of the solution, not the problem. Remember, neither success nor failure is permanent. You must work as per your vision and mission without imitating others blindly. Be a trendsetter, not a trend follower. Insecurity is a mental disability. It is worse than being physically challenged. Hence, treat it well earnestly to boost your confidence to excel as an extraordinary achiever.

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Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D.
Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of fifty books including the award-winning See the Light in You: Acquire Spiritual Powers to Achieve Mindfulness, Wellness, Happiness, and Success (Waterside Productions; January 16, 2020). He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications. His vision is to build one million students as global leaders by 2030. He has the vision to share his knowledge freely with one billion people globally. He advocates gender equality globally (#HeForShe). He was ranked #1 Thought Leader and Influencer in HR globally by Thinkers360. He invests his time in authoring books and blogging on executive education, learning, and leadership. Most of his work is available free of charge on his four blogs including Vision 2030: One Million Global Leaders. He is a prolific author and a dynamic, energetic, and inspirational leadership speaker. Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.