All leaders experience the loneliness of leadership.
Leading is strenuous work. You test yourself and others. Relationship boundaries stretch and occasionally break. In addition, change, innovation, or new initiatives may cause past loyalties to evaporate.
If you’ve never experienced the loneliness of leadership I wonder if you’ve ever led. Having said that, persistent leadership-loneliness is self-inflicted.
12 Reasons you’re a lonely leader
- Going too far too fast
- Waiting for people to appreciate you
- Faking who you are
- Shutting others out
- Sharing conclusions rather than processes
- Not building a support network
- Expecting agreement and rejecting dissent
- Believing leaders are omniscient and omnipotent
- Emotionally investing in unexamined ideas
- Using people for selfish reasons
- Not building a culture of ownership
- Investing more in projects and programs than people
Beyond the list of 12, I feel leadership-loneliness when I feel out of step with others. I find I care about things it seems others don’t care about. I feel most isolated when people I care about make negative assumptions about my motives.
There are legitimate reasons leaders feel lonely. Suffering because you’re keeping a confidence feels lonely. Following a dream that others don’t understand creates distance.
Top 5 cures for leadership-loneliness
Looking over the list of reasons leaders are lonely helps me uncover some cures.
- Be who you are – take time to reflect. Faking drains you.
- Listen to dissent and examining your passions early in the process.
- Build a support network.
- Create a culture of ownership.
- Engage others in the process.
Why are leaders lonely?
How can leaders deal with loneliness?
Thanks to the folks that shared their insights on loneliness in the Leadership Freak Coffee Shop on Facebook. You added value to this post.
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Tags: Leadership Development