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Written by Ayo Awotona

Ayo Awotona specializes in confidence building for girls in education. She does this through programs, workshops, and keynote speeches.

For the timid, change is frightening; for the comfortable, change is threatening; but for the confident, change is opportunity.”  – Nido Qubein 

Being human, we tend to adopt certain qualities that do more harm than good. One of those qualities is timidity. So, let’s take a look at how we can overcome being timid as a leader in education a.k.a servant leader. 

What is timidity? 

It is defined as showing a lack of courage or confidence. To clarify, there is nothing wrong with having moments of not feeling confident or courageous but it becomes a hindrance when we take on a persona of a timid person, especially as servant leaders.

What can cause timidity?

There are many causes of timidity; for example, an unhealthy relationship between the SLT, constraints around teams (thoughts, behaviours, and styles), process (reporting, hierarchy, and steps), and technology (tools, applications, and systems), fear of transparency or a combination of these things.

Ultimately, a helpful way to overcome timidity is first learning what the root cause is. Sometimes we get caught up with the symptoms instead of dealing with the underlying issue. Just like when we are ill, rather than focusing solely on the symptoms, we try and find the cause of the illness and treat it. 

Introspection is really beneficial to not only pinpoint the symptoms but also discover what causes our own timidity. From there, we can decide what the next step is to effectively deal with it. 

The consequences of timidity 

A major reason why we need to tackle timidity is that it can cripple us from being the best servant leaders we can be.

Below is a list of examples of how timidity can negatively affect us: 

  • Second-guessing oneself 
  • Overthinking
  • Silencing our voice 
  • Too hesitant or too rash in actions and words 
  • People-pleasing
  • Constant worrying 
  • Stressed out

How can we triumph over timidity?

It is better to look at overcoming timidity like a journey instead of a race. It includes mental training and learning to make decisions from a place of confidence than fear. 

Self-reflection helps in having a better understanding of ourselves and our feelings. It would be very useful to ask ourselves in our personal time; “what makes me timid?”, “what could I gain by looking through life from a lens of confidence”, “what could I lose by looking through the lens of timidity?” and other questions similar to this. 

When we find our answers, hold on to them! We need them in times of stressful and difficult scenarios i.e. change resistance, keeping everything time-boxed, and dealing with distributed teams. So when our timidity arises, we understand why we feel the way we do and will (hopefully) have an effective plan on how to tackle it.  

Essentially, we all have to go through our own personal growth so we can be amazing servant leaders otherwise we miss out on being the greatest we could be. So, let’s take action against timidity and start (or continue) our journey to overcome!