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Jason is the founder of Ignite Student Ministries, a dynamic ministry igniting youth, young adults and university students to passionately pursue Christ and transform society in high schools, work places and universities around the world.

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Five Traits of Insecure (and Secure) Leaders

Jason VanaJason Vana
Background Photo Credit: Toni Blay via photopin cc

Background Photo Credit: Toni Blay via photopin cc

I have been in a leadership position of some kind for twelve years now — starting with a bible study I led the second semester of my senior year in college to heading up an international ministry.

In that time, I’ve dealt with my fair share of insecurities.
It’s only natural when you find yourself leading others.

Some insecurities were warranted — I jumped right into leadership without any formal ministry education. Others were downright silly — worried if people 10 years younger than me actually liked me.

Insecurities are bound to follow the man or woman trying to lead, especially if it’s leading something for God. But we can’t let those insecurities affect the people we are leading.

Leaders who allow their insecurities to rule often end up doing more harm than good.

Here are a few ways to tell if you are an insecure leader:

  1. Insecure leaders are not able to delegate. They have to call the shots, do all the work, and sign off on every little thing within their organization.
  2. Insecure leaders think it’s all about them. They take any amount of constructive criticism as an attack against them personally.
  3. Insecure leaders don’t want to work with others. I see this a lot in the church world. Rather than work with organizations that are already “doing it” well, insecure leaders will try to reinvent the wheel. Their church or organization has to do everything. No partnerships.
  4. Insecure leaders are driven by emotion. One minute they want to take the organization in this direction. The next, it’s that direction. They change their minds based on their mood.
  5. Insecure leaders never raise up other leaders. Why would they? Those new leaders might outshine them, and that’s the last thing an insecure leader wants.

In contrast, here are a few ways to tell if you are secure in your leadership and yourself:

  1. Secure leaders trust others. They don’t just delegate tasks, they delegate authority — and trust those under them to do what’s best for the organization.
  2. Secure leaders know it’s about the mission and vision. They recognize they will never know it all, and are willing to take constructive criticism as a learning opportunity.
  3. Secure leaders partner with others. They have a kingdom mindset. It’s not just about their church or organization — it’s about reaching others. Even if that means humbling themselves and partnering with someone else who is already doing it.
  4. Secure leaders are driven by God’s Spirit. They take time in the Word. They pray. They listen to His voice and build a course of action based on that — not just how they are feeling that day.
  5. Secure leaders are all about raising up other leaders. Their heart isn’t just to see leaders at a lower level than themselves, but to see the leaders they raise up go on to far surpass them.

Question: Where do you find yourself on the spectrum — are you an insecure or secure leader, or a little bit of both?

Jason is the founder of Ignite Student Ministries, a dynamic ministry igniting youth, young adults and university students to passionately pursue Christ and transform society in high schools, work places and universities around the world.

Comments 8
  • Webster Gehring
    Posted on

    Webster Gehring Webster Gehring

    Reply Author

    All about the vision. Gots to have it.


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

      And raising up others. Vision is good, but if you aren’t empowering others, the vision dies with you.


  • muchl8r
    Posted on

    muchl8r muchl8r

    Reply Author

    This makes me all sorts of stabby. I would elaborate on the insecure side, that a lack of delegation goes along with a desire to control. Everything. I wasted a lot of time with controlling people. I’m over it. you hit the nail on the head with the rest of it, too. Way to be? I think I mean that. As much as I’m annoyed about it…


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

      A stabby Jake is a dangerous Jake! It made me kind of annoyed too, mostly because at some point in my leadership role I’ve exhibited every single insecure trait I listed above. I’m sure there are more, I just couldn’t handle more than five.


  • jasonS
    Posted on

    jasonS jasonS

    Reply Author

    I’ve been a fairly naturally fearful, intimidated, and insecure person the bulk of my life, but I’m only in a leadership position because God has done something significant in me. So incredibly I tend more toward the secure leader. I definitely have plenty of shortcomings and missed opportunities, but I marvel at what God has done and how He works. Good thoughts, Jason. Thanks.


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

      I’m the same way, Jason. I’ve been naturally fearful, intimidated, and insecure most of my life — and there have been times it has seeped into my leadership roles, especially when I first started in leadership. But the most I rely on God to guide and lead me, the more I gravitate towards the traits of a secure leader.


  • ThatGuyKC
    Posted on

    ThatGuyKC ThatGuyKC

    Reply Author

    Great list and comparison of traits. In leading a team of volunteers for 2 years my biggest challenge was delegating. Not because I didn’t trust others to do the work, but I wanted to lead by example. If I could do it, why ask someone else? My pastor helped teach me the value of asking for help and that I couldn’t do everything and succeed. That model wasn’t sustainable.


    • Jason Vana
      Posted on

      Jason Vana Jason Vana

      Reply Author

      Your pastor is a wise man. Not only is that model unsustainable, inviting others to help gives them a sense of ownership over what you’re doing and pulls their gifts out of them. It’s almost selfish / prideful NOT to invite others to help. Glad to see you’re delegating now!