People who want to lead but lack confidence often display these 9 subtle behaviors

Leadership is a tricky thing.

It requires confidence, charisma, and a dash of fearlessness.

But not everyone who aspires to lead comes equipped with these traits right off the bat.

Sometimes, those who yearn to take charge struggle with self-assurance.

This lack of confidence can manifest in subtle behaviors that might go unnoticed at first glance but are glaringly obvious to a discerning eye.

In this article, we’re going to delve into the nine subtle behaviors often displayed by individuals who want to lead but are grappling with confidence issues. 

1) Overcompensating

Leadership can be intimidating, especially for those who lack confidence.

Often, these individuals will try to mask their insecurities by overcompensating.

This can come in the form of excessive control, micromanaging, or even exaggerated displays of authority.

These individuals may strive to prove their worth by asserting dominance, even when it’s not necessary.

They may go overboard in trying to control every aspect of a project, or they may make a big show of their authority to prove they are in charge.

This behavior is more about proving something to themselves than to others.

It’s a defense mechanism that often masks a deep-seated fear of being seen as inadequate.

True leadership isn’t about control or dominance.

It’s about guiding a team towards a common goal with empathy and understanding.

If you spot this behavior in yourself or others, it might be an indicator of a lack of confidence in leadership abilities.

2) Apologizing excessively

Let me tell you a personal story.

When I first stepped into a leadership role, I was pretty nervous.

I lacked the confidence and felt that I had to prove myself worthy of the position.

This often led me to apologize excessively.

If there was a minor hiccup in a project or a slight delay, I’d immediately default to saying sorry, even when it was out of my control.

I felt as if everything had to be perfect, and any minor inconvenience was my fault.

What I didn’t realize then was that my excessive apologies were not only unnecessary but also harmful.

They were undermining my authority and making me appear less confident in my role.

It took time and self-reflection to understand that making mistakes is part of being in a leadership position and that it’s okay not to be perfect.

3) Avoiding decision making

Leadership requires making decisions, some of which can be tough.

However, those who lack confidence in their leadership abilities often hesitate to make decisions.

They might procrastinate or defer the decision to someone else, fearing that they’ll make the wrong choice.

This avoidance is usually driven by a fear of failure or criticism.

Leaders who avoid decision-making are seen as less effective by their teams.

This perceived ineffectiveness can further erode their confidence, creating a vicious cycle.

Strong leaders understand that making a decision, even if it turns out to be wrong, is better than making no decision at all.

Recognizing this behavior and working to overcome it is a crucial step towards becoming a more confident leader.

4) Seeking constant validation

One clear sign of a lack of confidence in leadership is the constant need for validation.

These individuals often second-guess their decisions and look for approval from others to reassure themselves.

While asking for feedback is a good leadership trait, seeking constant validation can indicate self-doubt and insecurity.

This behavior can be exhausting for team members and can undermine the leader’s credibility.

Confident leaders trust their judgment and while they value feedback, they don’t rely on it to validate their every decision. 

5) Not delegating tasks

Leadership is not just about making decisions; it’s also about knowing when to delegate tasks to your team members.

But leaders who lack confidence often struggle with delegation.

They might feel that they need to complete all tasks themselves to ensure they’re done right.

This inability to delegate not only overburdens them but also deprives their team members of opportunities to grow and contribute.

Remember, a sign of a great leader is their ability to trust in the skills and abilities of their team.

6) Struggling with imposter syndrome

dismiss criticism you lack self awareness People who want to lead but lack confidence often display these 9 subtle behaviors

Imposter Syndrome hits us all from time to time.

It’s that nagging feeling of not belonging, of feeling like a fraud who’s about to be found out.

For individuals wanting to lead but lacking confidence, this feeling can be particularly overwhelming.

These aspiring leaders might feel that they don’t deserve their position or that they’re not as competent as people think they are.

They live in constant fear of being “exposed” for being less than what others perceive them to be.

This can be an emotionally draining experience and can severely impact their leadership capabilities.

If you’re grappling with Imposter Syndrome, know that you’re not alone.

Many successful leaders have faced and overcome this feeling.

It’s important to acknowledge it, talk about it, and seek help if necessary.

7) Avoiding confrontation

Years ago, I found myself in a situation where a member of my team was consistently underperforming.

It was affecting the entire project, but I kept avoiding the necessary confrontation.

I was nervous, worried about their reaction, and didn’t want to seem harsh.

This avoidance was a clear sign of my lack of confidence as a leader.

I was more concerned about being liked than tackling the issue head-on.

Leadership often requires having difficult conversations and dealing with conflicts.

Avoiding confrontation doesn’t solve the problem; it just prolongs it.

8) Being overly self-critical

Leaders who lack confidence are often overly self-critical.

They tend to focus on their shortcomings, magnifying their mistakes while downplaying their achievements.

This negative self-talk can be incredibly damaging.

It affects their self-esteem and can make them question their ability to lead effectively.

Constructive self-criticism is healthy, but constant negative self-evaluation isn’t productive.

If you find yourself constantly criticizing your leadership abilities, it might be time to take a step back and examine your self-talk.

Nobody is perfect – not even leaders.

Learn from your mistakes, but also take the time to celebrate your achievements.

9) Overly concerned about perception

The most critical thing to understand about leadership is that it’s not about how others perceive you; it’s about how effectively you lead your team towards achieving common goals.

Yet, those who lack confidence often become overly concerned about how they’re perceived by others.

They worry excessively about their image and may even alter their behavior based on what they think others expect of them.

It’s important to remember that leadership isn’t a popularity contest.

Being a leader means making tough decisions, standing by them, and sometimes facing criticism.

Being authentic and genuine in your leadership style is more important than trying to fit into a certain image or perception.

Leadership is a journey

The road to confident leadership is paved with challenges, self-discovery, and growth.

Recognizing these subtle behaviors is only the first step.

Aspiring leaders must then take deliberate actions to overcome these hurdles and boost their confidence.

Remember, leadership is not about perfection.

It’s about being authentic, learning from your mistakes, and continuously striving to become better.

John C. Maxwell once said, “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”

This ability stems from the confidence in oneself and one’s capabilities.

So if you’re an aspiring leader grappling with self-doubt, take heart.

You’re on a journey, and every step you take brings you closer to becoming the confident leader you aspire to be.

Reflect on these behaviors, acknowledge your areas of improvement, and embrace the journey.

Confidence in leadership isn’t built in a day.

It’s a continuous process, one that you are fully equipped to embark on.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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