Having spoken to many business leaders and executives over the last six months, it’s clear that leadership is a lonely place; as people say, “it’s lonely at the top.”
Over the following three newsletters, I will discuss ways in which we can approach this idea of loneliness and put in place ways to transform it.
Just a quick point before we start to discuss:
We must all understand that being lonely is very different to being alone. Being with oneself is vital for developing visions, having a birds-eye view of the situation and connecting with what is happening in your head and body.
Business leaders may think that loneliness is an unalterable condition they must endure. Being seen as a leader comes with its problems. We have this so-called “price of success.”
Last week, I spoke to a business dad at a networking event; he mentioned that he attends a meeting once per month to discuss business with fellow leaders. He finds this single intense meeting more beneficial than frequent meetings. So, being able to find your tribe for support is hugely helpful.
The most significant step that leaders need to take is to be aware of the lack of connection. It can be easy to believe that you are connected when busy on back-to-back zoom calls.
Being busy and talking to people will not develop those essential connections.
problem with being lonely
The problem with being lonely as a leader is that:
- It can affect emotional control and create a lack of empathy. This is key to being a good leader in the business and at home with your family.
- We became business dads for the enjoyment factor, whatever drives you, growth of a company, seeing your son/daughter achieve or being able to support people. Loneliness is not fun.
- Increased stress, “a problem shared”. As I mentioned earlier, a lack of deep connections causes us not to be able to share problems and seek problem-solving. We take it all on ourselves.
Find Your Leadership Tribe!
“I find it hard to speak to friends and family members about my problems and struggles; they just don’t understand. And I don’t want to put the stress on them”.
This was a comment from one business dad I spoke to on a presentation day.
There is enormous power in being vulnerable; just look at the work of Brene Brown. However, we need to confide in the right people with the correct knowledge and understanding.
Understanding is the most important. If you are a leader, people will always look up to you, both negatively and positively. Internal competition in companies can be massively motivating and also massively damaging to the culture.
There are several networks and mentoring groups around. Having spoken to over 50 Business Dads, I am looking to set up a group like this to talk and offer support on all the issues and pain points that I have discussed with dads. Let me know if you would be interested in being part of such a group here.
A business dad friend told me,
“I love my monthly meetings; I can just unload my concerns without judgement and know that support is there for me”.
To be human is to be connected; it takes time to develop.
Over the next week or so, think about your tribe.
- Do you have enough support?
- Does your support come from the right place?
- Do you support other business dads?
There is great enjoyment in helping others. This is why I love to coach.
I am still in the process of my research project and would love to speak to business leaders. If you would be interested in supporting this project, drop me a message or book a call here.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this area of leadership.
Progression over perfection.