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What is a Defended Leader or Person?

A defended leader/person is someone who has fortified himself or herself around their own set of ideals, assumptions and beliefs to the exclusion of input or change. Few (if any) are able to influence or challenge. If you are defended, you are “walled off” from outside influence and new growth.

What’s sad is that many leaders who are “defended” are often not self-aware enough to know this truth about themselves. “Defended” often masquerades deep insecurity.

A leader who is described as “defended” often projects being “self-assured,” “self-assertive,”  “confident,” “strength in personality” and often “overly determined. ”  You can call these type of leaders as being “defended” or “defensive,” but any way you slice it they are sealed off, trapped within themselves, hard to lead, coach, train and work with on a team.

So how do you know if you are “defended” as a leader? See if any of these four characteristics surface in your day-to-day behavior.

[1] If you are a defended person/leader… you are defensive. Your opinion and ideas are well fortified. You typically do listen or hear new ideas. New ways are skirted or sidelined. The new typically asks more of you than you are willing to give. The call for change is often couched in “what the company” needs to do, or “how the church/organization” needs to change. It is never about your need to change.

[2] If you are a defended person/leader… you are typically not willing to sacrifice for the good of the team. Though others are “all in” you shy away from doing the more or the extra that might be required. If anyone is courageous enough to challenge your resistance, you typically are ready with your defense, excuse, and/or position on issues that protects your sustained security.

[3] If you are a defended person/leader… being part of a team will not produce what teams can produce. You will always be thinking first about how an idea or thought relates to you, and what it might mean for you by way of benefit (job security) or extra effort. You spend minimal time taking on new skills or new methods. You typically meet team initiatives with skepticism and are quick with reasons why initiatives will not succeed, or have been already considered.

[4] If you’re a defended person/leader…  coaching, mentoring, feedback or training rarely help. Your opinions or methods/beliefs are already well established, determined and entrenched. New knowledge, insights or paradigms bounce off you. You don’t connect-the-dots on your part of change. The new or change are threats to you and your current operating system, therefore rarely embraced.

To say that someone is “defended” or “defensive” sound like a terrible description of a leader, but in this discussion they are actually the best choice of words for those seeking to not grow, but protect. Growth means risk. Risk could threaten security. Defended leaders will view they have too much too lose, or they are already “contributing their fair share.”

What’s the other side? The DEFINED LEADER

These are leaders who are secure within themselves, they know who they are, and who they are not, and they are at peace.

They are non-anxious and therefore welcome input and challenge from others to take them deeper in their understanding. People will describe the “defined leader” with characteristics similar to that of John Quincy Adams’ description of a leader… If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

What say You… about You?

© Terry Walling  2013