6 Dangers of an Underconfident Leader

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There are overconfident leaders, and then there are underconfident leaders.

Overconfident leaders are very sure of themselves and their strategies. They are quick to attract followers, but they are also quick to ignore negative indicators and take excessive risk. When a leader moves from confident to overconfident, he may find himself in a potentially destructive situation.

Underconfident leaders are dramatically different. They are unsure of themselves. They question their own strategies and abilities, and not in a healthy introspective manner. They have probably experienced failure more than once. And they prepare themselves to experience it again. It has scarred them.

There are dangers of an overconfident leader. But there are dangers of an underconfident leader as well. Here are six of them:

1. Underconfident leaders struggle to build a following.

People want to follow someone who is confident in where they are going and how they are going to get there. Many will befriend an underconfident leader, but they will not join his team.

2. Underconfident leaders tend to be overly concerned with others’ opinions.

Underconfident leaders sometimes listen too much. They find themselves obsessing over the comments of a few, especially when those comments are negative. And they internalize them. They allow those few statements to effect their entire being.

“Underconfident leaders sometimes listen too much.”

3. Underconfident leaders tend to focus on negative indicators.

While overconfident leaders will dismiss negative indicators, underconfident leaders will fixate over them. They will point to these negative indicators as a reason why they cannot move forward, even when they really can.

4. Underconfident leaders struggle with decision-making.

Because they are unsure of themselves, underconfident leaders shut down when decisions are needed. They never step in to make a decision, but evade the responsibility. They are known for passing the buck, even when it should end at their desk.

5. Underconfident leaders tend to let past failures define them.

Their underconfidence did not occur over night. They have either experienced failures or been told that they are a failure. And they let the failures or the words define who they are and how they lead..

6. Underconfident leaders often fail to lead their organization anywhere.

Underconfident leaders will keep an organization stagnant. They lack the strength to guide it anywhere else. They do not want to experience another failure so they shirk decision-making, highlight negative indicators, and try to maintain the status quo.

Overconfident leaders can be a danger to any organization. But underconfident leaders can be as well. Leaders must be cautious to avoid either extreme. Great leaders are confident, but humble. They have a “can-do” attitude, but are willing to listen to other opinions. They are not overconfident, but neither are they under confident. They are simply confident but humble.

What about you? What are some dangers you see in underconfident leaders? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.

6 Dangers of an Overconfident Leader

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9 thoughts on “6 Dangers of an Underconfident Leader

  1. I need the part 2 of this Blog! Overcoming Underconfidence. I’m in a season of transition with full-time staff ministry or church planting options to choose from, and don’t want under confidence to be a factor in which path I choose. Prayers appreciated!

    • Thanks, Will! I am starting that post right now. It should be up in the next couple of days. I will be praying for you and your decision.

  2. My experience with under confident leaders are low energy and are often threatened when higher energy persons are added to the team. Sometimes the under confident person protects the status quo by providing “advice” that kills others initiative and/or excessive “help” to very capable, which erodes confidence and trust. I am dealing with this with a co-worker now. The pattern of excessive unsolicited advice, interjecting himself into tasks without first asking permission, interrupting my problem solving efforts by telling me how to solve the problem without letting me explain my method, rationale or even taking time to understand the background on the problem, routinely shooting down my ideas as too much work (even though I’m the doing the work), insisting his own ideas be accepted without discussion.
    This person delegated to me the task of popping popcorn. I thought I could figure that out without a lot of help. He didn’t trust me to do it without following up and “helping” me do it correctly. No exactly a high, high risk task. Today I will be speaking with this person. My morale is shot. If this does not change, I will serve God somewhere else. The Covey video, Max and Max, illustrates me situation.https://youtu.be/RZLutlsX6nY?list=PLD22A614C87819787

  3. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I don’t know if this is the right forum, but I really resonated with the “6 Dangers of the Underconfident Leader”. I am all six of those dangers. I was wondering if you could write a follow up or maybe even just send me a reply explaining what a person should do if he is an “Underconfident Leader”?

    I would really appreciate the guidance/advice.