Defeating The Demon Of Leadership Loneliness

Oct 21, 2016 2 Min Read
Executive Loneliness is Something All Leaders Need to Be Aware off

Leading sets you apart from others. Being out in front means you may walk alone. Additionally, you work to understand others but do others understand you?

If you feel alone, you aren’t alone.

Leadership’s “A” game:

Leaders bring their “A” game every day. You direct, guide, manage, decide, counsel, encourage, challenge. . .

1. You think of others and the organisation before yourself.
2. You think about tomorrow while those around you focus on today.
3. You know things others don’t and can’t know. You keep confidences.
4. You can’t spill your guts. You’re guarded even when you’re open.
5. You’re always “on,” watched, and evaluated.

Being set apart results in feeling set apart.

The danger of alone:

Loneliness always makes life harder. Stress is deeper, darks are darker, and thinking is impaired when you feel alone. I even read that loneliness speeds ageing.

Leadership’s “A” game results in feeling “A”-lone. To make matters worse, happy people don’t like hanging with lonely people. Lonely people hang together and create more loneliness.

Facing the demon of leadership loneliness:

1. Don’t expect people within your organisation to understand you.
2. Train top-tier leaders to think like CEOs who put others first.
3. Engage people in the process early and often.
4. Avoid faking and pretending. Faking feeds the demon of loneliness.
5. Develop authentic relationships with leaders outside your organisation. Expose your heart to someone you trust. Be selective.
6. Hire a coach. Be a coach and have a coach. Mine is Bob Hancox.
7. Take alone time at least once a month. Weekly is better. Alone time helps with loneliness.
8. Clear your mind so you can think more clearly. Read, walk, run, exercise, or go to a movie.
9. Warning: thinking you’re better than others is an arrogant defence mechanism that increases loneliness.

What are the causes of leadership loneliness?

How can leaders deal with feeling alone?

Reposted with permission on

This article is also available in Chinese.

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Tags: Executing Leadership

Dan Rockwell is a coach and speaker and is freakishly interested in leadership. He is an author of a world-renowned leadership blog, Leadership Freak.

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