KZN Business Chambers
Digitally Relevant 


KZN Business Sense News

Back to overview


Anneme Coetzee - Are you holding back your team?

Recognising and addressing dependency in your leadership style is the first step towards transformation. Picture this: You’re in a leadership role, striving to inspire and drive your team towards success. Yet, something feels off. Decisions take too long, team morale seems low, and innovation is stifled.

You might find yourself frequently second-guessing decisions, seeking approval from superiors, or relying heavily on a few trusted team members. This causes a form of dependency in the leadership style which often manifests as a need for constant validation and guidance from others. These behaviours can undermine your confidence and affect your team’s dynamics.

The state of relying on or needing someone or something for aid, support, or the like causes an unconscious need or dependency to assure or confirm confidence. The core trait to create autonomous leadership is self-reliance and self-trust.

While often seen as a negative trait, it serves several underlying purposes. Understanding these
purposes can provide insight into why such behaviours develop and how they can be addressed
effectively. Here are some examples:
1. Seeking validation and approval
• Purpose: To ensure that decisions are sound and to gain approval from superiors and peers.
• Insight: Some leaders may seek validation to feel secure in their decisions and to avoid the fear of failure or criticism.
2. Reducing anxiety and uncertainty
• Purpose: To manage anxiety and uncertainty by relying on others for guidance and support.
• Insight: Dependency can provide a sense of security and reduce the stress associated with making independent decisions.
3. Compensating for inexperience or lack of confidence
• Purpose: To compensate for a lack of experience, knowledge, or confidence in their leadership abilities.
• Insight: New or inexperienced leaders may rely on more seasoned colleagues to guide them through complex decisions.
4. Creating a sense of inclusion and collaboration
• Purpose: To foster a sense of inclusion and collaboration within the team by seeking input and feedback.
• Insight: Dependency can be a way to ensure that team members feel valued and heard, although it can sometimes go too far.
5. Ensuring thoroughness and avoiding mistakes
• Purpose: To ensure that decisions are well-thoughtout and to avoid mistakes by gathering diverse perspectives.
• Insight: Leaders may believe that involving others extensively will lead to more thorough and accurate decision-making.
6. Avoiding responsibility and blame
• Purpose: To avoid sole responsibility and potential blame for decisions that may lead to negative outcomes.
• Insight: By involving others in the decision-making process, leaders can share the responsibility and mitigate personal risk.

These behaviours stem from an underlying fear of making mistakes and a lack of confidence in your leadership abilities. The consequences can be far-reaching:
• Slow Decision-Making: Constantly seeking approval can lead to delays, inefficiencies, and missed opportunities.
• Decreased Team Morale: Micromanagement and lack of trust can demotivate your team, causing frustration and disengagement.
• Stifled Innovation: Over-reliance on a few individuals can limit fresh ideas and hinder the development of a robust, collaborative team culture.

While the purposes of dependency may stem from understandable motivations, it’s crucial for leaders to develop a balance between seeking support and maintaining autonomy. Here are some strategies to help you become a more confident and effective leader:
1. Develop self-confidence
• Engage in leadership training programs focused on building self-confidence and decision-making skills.
• Reflect on past successes and learn from mistakes to build a more resilient sense of self-efficacy.
2. Encourage independent decision-making
• Start delegating responsibilities and trust your team to handle them.
• Create a supportive environment where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities.
3. Build a strong support network
• Seek mentorship from experienced leaders who can provide guidance without fostering dependency.
• Encourage peer support while maintaining personal accountability for decisions.
4. Enhance emotional intelligence
• Participate in workshops and training on emotional intelligence to better manage anxiety and stress.
• Practice mindfulness and self-reflection to understand and regulate your emotional responses.
5. Foster open communication and trust
• Cultivate open and transparent communication with your team to build trust and collaboration.
• Involve team members in decision-making processes in a way that empowers them rather than fosters dependency.

By recognising the underlying purposes of dependency and implementing strategies to address it, you can transform your approach, fostering a more dynamic, empowered, and effective leadership style. This not only enhances your own capabilities but also contributes to a more resilient and motivated team.

Ready to unlock your potential? Start your journey towards exceptional leadership today. Your team – and your success – depend on it.

T: +27 (0)82 887 1600

 Anneme Coetzee Are you holding back your team blog image.PNG
 Anneme Coetzee Are you holding back your team.pdf

Back to overview