4 Reasons Leaders Are Lonely

I know plenty of people striving to get to "the top". They want to be number one in their career pursuits. They strive to be in a leadership position but are rudely awakened once they get there.

I have been training leaders almost 10 years now. And it surprises me how often leaders are lonely with no one to turn to for support.
photo credit: Alessandro S. Alba via photopin cc 

According to a 2013 Sherpa survey of executives and senior managers, "Nearly 66% of CEOs do not receive coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches, while 100% of them stated that they are receptive to making changes based on feedback."

People rarely empathize with leaders because they are supposed to have it all together. They "have it all", right? What could possibly be the problem?

4 Things Leaders Don't Realize Until They Become Leaders

1. Someone wants your job. 

If you have been promoted to the highest office possible, there is someone planning to replace you eventually. They may or may not be malicious in those plans but you are not going to on top forever.

2.  Someone always wants something from you.
Whether it is spoken or unspoken, leaders are constantly bombarded with requests. They are asked for their time, to share their expertise, to share their money, to share their name, or to share their influence. These encumbering requests can leave a person bitter, guarded, and drained.

3. You are isolated on purpose.
Ever tried to get a meeting with the CEO of a major organization? You can't just walk in without an appointment. That's on purpose. You've heard the phrase it is lonely at the top, well that's true...if you let it. The trouble most leaders have is that they don't have support. When their subordinates have an issue, they turn to the leader. When the leader has an issue, they turn....???? Where does the leader turn for professional development? Where does the leader turn for strategic thinking, venting, and accountability?

4. You are not seen as a real person.
Instead of being seen as a human being with flaws and weaknesses, you are seen as a distanced entity. You are expected to always be on, be professional, and have great insight. You are held to a higher standard and put on a pedestal whether you want to be there or not.

If all of those 4 things are true, why on earth would anyone ever want to be a leader? 

If those things are true, are leaders just doomed? 

Absolutely not.

Who is in your professional corner?  Who can help you merge and manage your human-ness with your work?  Who can you be professionally vulnerable with and not feel judged for not having or not exacting a skill set to excellence?

Your very own executive coach!

The questions I asked prompted me to focus my business on coaching leaders. I have a heart for helping people have better relationships with themselves, and others. It is hard to do that if you feel frustrated to maintain an image you never wanted. 

I can't tell you how often I hear the exasperation in the voice of a leader because they are doing all they know how, but aren't seeing the results they want. They are perplexed or frustrated because they feel the pressure to perform.  And if they are honest, they are pressuring themselves to perform.

My message to leaders: chill out and get a coach! 

You are a human being who happens to hold a high ranking position in an organization. This means you are competent, but it doesn't mean you are perfect.

With my clients, I give them permission to fail. In a recent article, Inc.com highlighted a company for the unique way they promote innovation. It is called the Church of Fail. It isn't a "real" church but a place where employees can come express their mistakes, and receive support. The effect is that the staff is more innovative because failing is celebrated, not shamed or shunned. 

With a background in communication and relationship building skills, my coaching usually focuses on finding new solutions for old people problems. And guess what is the #1 problem leaders have?

"How to handle conflict ranks as highest area of concern for CEOs – When asked which is the biggest area for their own personal development, nearly 43% of CEOs rated “conflict management skills” the highest. 'How to manage effectively through conflict is clearly one of the top priorities for CEOs, as they are juggling multiple constituencies every day,' says Mr. Miles. “When you are in the CEO role, most things that come to your desk only get there because there is a difficult decision to be made – which often has some level of conflict associated with it.” Excerpt from Sherpa's 2013 Executive Coaching Survey 

You can substitute leader for CEO and the statement is still true. 

Conflicts are big and small. But conflicts always involve at least one other person.

I'm here for my clients to help them release the burden and find the beauty in leading again.

Email me personally or visit my website when you are ready to just breathe again!

No comments:

Post a Comment