If you were to name one of the biggest roadblocks to your leadership, what would it be? The first thing that comes to mind might be the lack of a typical leadership skill like decision-making or vision-casting or strong communication. However, it’s often not the lack of a certain skill, but rather the fear of failure that poses a real danger to our leadership and those we lead.
Have you ever had to lead a person who is insecure? It’s miserable, isn’t it? They question themselves. They hesitate. They talk themselves out of decisions and sometimes end up apologizing too much or make excuses. Sometimes they swing back and forth between being defensive and over-internalizing. They are just flat-out difficult to lead.
Now imagine following an insecure leader. They are indecisive. They hesitate. They second-guess themselves and lack clarity. Sometimes they take too long to create a plan and other times they act impulsively. They create an insecure climate for those they lead and sometimes, without realizing it, they frustrate and confuse those around them.
The Bible compares an insecure leader to something being blown this way and then that way by the wind (James 1:6). Insecurity resulting from failure can truly be a monster in your leadership, and if you don’t pay attention to it, it only grows.
What Are You Afraid Of?
The research is interesting regarding women and their fear of failure. It’s one of the top things that women admit to struggling with, and we often say it’s the hardest hurdle to overcome. Why is this? Some research says it’s tied to how we were brought up. Many girls were raised to be obedient rule-followers, to minimize their risk-taking side. Other research says it’s because there are fewer female figures who model risk-taking and courage. I’m not sure why women seem to struggle more than men with facing failure, but we do.1