Two words that ought to send your critical-thinking apparatus into overdrive.
In this case, according to a report from Forbes writer Adi Gaskell, studies show that insecure leaders — those who say they experience impostor syndrome — are less selfish and more generous than other leaders. (Impostor syndrome is the feeling that you’re unqualified for the work you’re doing.)
Aware of their own shortcomings, the studies suggest, these leaders will forgive similar shortcomings in the people they lead. They even tend to delegate more work to employees who feel unworthy than to those who are confident and self-assured.
Gaskell writes, “The research found that when leaders suffer from impostor syndrome, they are more likely to be generous to others as they try and alleviate any perceived unfairness in their ascent to power.”
My own experience
That’s totally opposite to what I’ve experienced in my own career.
Of the leaders I’ve worked for (and with), it’s the insecure ones who act defensively and who are least likely to be generous. To a greater or lesser degree, they’re busy protecting their authority — which they often feel they gained unjustly — and trying to hide their deficiencies.
Leaders who are confident and self-assured, I’ve found, are much more generous: less apt to insist that everything be done their way, more willing to help when needed, more likely to deflect praise.
Confidence opens the door to true humility (not self-doubt) and servant leadership.
I’d much rather have a leader who’s confident than one who’s insecure. And so would you, I’ll bet.
Yet studies show the opposite to be true. So what’s going on? Here are some suggestions. Continue reading