There are different kinds of leaders with different personalities and character traits. Sometimes a leader’s personality and character traits complement and aid his ability to lead and sometimes they hinder his ability to lead. Today I want to talk about the character trait of timidity. In general this is not a good character trait for a leader to possess. Humility is a different matter, but timidity will cripple a leaders effectiveness.
We see timidity manifest itself in a few different ways. It shows up in fear: fear of conflict, fear of making decisions, fear of making mistakes, fear of people in general. Timid leaders, if there really are such leaders, tend to avoid direct contact with people. In a virtual world they hide behind email, they avoid tough conversations, they agree with everyone for the simple purpose of avoiding disagreement and thus they compromise themselves and sacrifice consistency for comfort.
Timid leaders tend to avoid making decisions. They seek the consensus of the group and wait for the group to make the decision. When an impasse is reached in the group think, they are unwilling to make a choice and move ahead. Sometimes this is compounded because the timid leader doesn’t know to where he leading.
Timid leaders also tend to avoid holding others accountable. They don’t set clear objectives and deliverables and thy don’t push people to meet agreed upon deadlines. They fall behind in their work and they fail to reach the goals set for them.
In the end timid leaders fail to lead and this has a wide range of ramifications for them both personally and professionally. It can even cost them their jobs. Now, there is probably some timidity in most people. None of us likes to be in conflict and it would be so much easier if everyone would just agree and get along, but that just isn’t how life works and it definitely isn’t how successful people lead. Successful people must lead from the front, knowing where they are going, and believing that what they are doing is right. This doesn’t mean they have all the answers, it doesn’t mean they won’t make mistakes, and it certainly doesn’t mean the don’t need the input and knowledge of a team of people. Remember, leadership isn’t leadership if without a team to lead.
To be a successful leader one must humbly lead from the front and must never attempt to please everyone. One must demonstrate confidence and make tough decisions knowing that those decisions will be unpopular with some of the team members. If they don’t do this they will frustrate the team, loose the respect the team, and fail to reach their objectives, which may have devastating consequences for the leader and for the organization. But, if they will lead from the front, make bold choices, hold others accountable, and believe that what they are doing is right, they stand a good chance of obtaining the goal and the whole team wins when this happens. Leaders lead boldly from the front, not timidly from the pack.