While we like to think of great leaders as having unwavering senses of confidence, the truth is that even the best leaders struggle with many of the same issues as everyone else. Here are just a few things that even great leaders contend with on a regular basis, and why many “weaknesses” experienced by leaders can actually be turned into strengths.
For most leaders, a certain amount of self-doubt is a normal component of every decision-making process. Self-doubt can manifest itself in a variety of forms; for example, some leaders may experience “imposter syndrome,” a condition in which a person feels that they do not truly merit their status or position
Indeed, despite all evidence to the contrary, these leaders can feel as though they don’t truly belong within their organization. They may even worry that they will one day be “found out” as someone who is not deserving of a leadership position.
In today’s world, we tend to view strong leaders as extroverts who are comfortable in any social situation. In truth, however, many leaders experience a certain degree of anxiety around socializing. Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to be an extrovert to be a great leader.
Indeed, some of the most successful CEOs and politicians in history have been able to put their introspective natures to good use. For example, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Abraham Lincoln have all been described as introverts by the people closest to them; they are also leaders who have understood the psychology of others in profound ways. For these leaders, introversion has been a strength rather than a weakness.
- Humble Backgrounds
While some people tend to view the upper echelons of the business world as a playground for the wealthy and well-connected, the truth is that many great leaders have come from modest family backgrounds. Perhaps the greatest President in US history, Abraham Lincoln’s father was an illiterate farmer and carpenter; Steve Jobs’s adoptive father was a repo man.
Regarded as one of Britain’s best Prime Ministers, moreover, Margaret Thatcher was the daughter of a shopkeeper, but her work ethic and drive led her to earn a place to study at Oxford University and pursue a career in politics. Far from being a liability, humble backgrounds can often give entrepreneurs and leaders a realistic outlook on life and an ability to empathize with others.
For these reasons, many of the qualities that even the best leaders struggle with can often be turned into strengths. Whether we’re struggling with self-doubt or self-consciousness about our humble backgrounds, it’s always good to know that some of the most successful people in the world have dealt with the same issues as ourselves. Truly, that is learning from the experiences of others at its best!