Leadership has a hidden cost of loneliness. Many CEOs are excited by the chance to be a leader or the chance to make a difference with a great product or service. The raise in pay certainly feels good too!
Various studies have been done that show that deep feelings of loneliness permeate the leadership job. Example – You suddenly have to deal with a manager who is not doing the right thing and there may be no one in your agency who should know about your inner struggle to choose the right course.
One category of loneliness is about planning to handle bad things that may not happen. Examples may be a financial risk that has not yet happened, a key resignation looming, or funds that may be missing. Imagine telling anyone on staff that payroll may not be paid but don’t worry because it is still just a risk.
There is also the loneliness of unpopular decisions. It’s easy to make most decisions. That’s surfing. It’s those other decisions where you need to take a risk and a stand. That may be magnified if people perceive your leadership as a support to a group of stakeholders. Gay presidents, women CEOs’, persons of color as Chairs of Boards can face double burdens to defend some leadership decision if a stakeholder group is surprised by the decision.
I’m also speaking from personal experience leading agencies for 30 years. And that’s why I’m in coaching now. You’re probably watching this because you need an outside voice to help you get clarity, keep you on track with the decisions that you’ve made and be available during dark hours.
It’s not only for peace of mind. Think of all the wasted leadership and sleepless hours on loneliness. Your company mission and money will bounce up when you can place your energy where it’s critically needed.
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