As a CEO or senior executive it can be quite lonely at the top. The very nature of a hierarchical structured organisation means that senior leaders are often faced with the sole responsibility of making tough decisions and being held to account for these decisions. And they are often faced with making these decisions with little or no support from trusted advisers or support.
I recently stumbled upon an article ‘The Strange Relationship Between Power and Loneliness’ that got me thinking about leadership loneliness and the impact it can have. To my surprise, the article claims to have debunked conventional wisdom of leadership loneliness, with results from their eight studies showing that attaining leadership power actually led people to feel less isolated and lonely. However, these results were very situationally-dependent and are not all-encompassing.
For those of you who understand the sense of leadership loneliness, I thought I would suggest a couple of means for avoiding this isolation and loneliness.
In previous posts I have spoken about the five gems on leadership, and one of these was being visible within the organisation. It is important that you get out and about as a leader, and engage with your team. It will not only have a positive impact on the engagement of your people, but it will help you lead from the front. You must also look to build your network of trusted advisers and mentors that you can use as a sounding board to help you talk through potential solutions to the tough decisions you are often required to make. These two simple steps can help negate the loneliness of leadership at those critical times.
You will find it very difficult to succeed on your own – we all need the support of our teams, our colleagues and our family and friends. By building supportive networks around you that you can access at times of need, you will ensure you are able to reach out for guidance and direction in times of uncertainty.