Leadership can be lonely.
We're all familiar with the phrase "it's lonely at the top" but the isolation of leadership can extend through all areas of the organization--wherever people are in a position of authority. Whether you're at the very top or somewhere in the middle, when you are placed in a position of authority, you need to be the boss and sometimes you can’t really problem solve or talk through issues you’re having with your employees, team, or management team.
For example, let's say you have an employee that reacts in a very emotional way every time you give them feedback—who do you talk to about this? You can’t talk to other employees. You don’t necessarily want to expose the behavior to upper management and tarnish the perception of this employee. You don’t want to take it home. It’s sensitive and you want to respect the privacy of the employee, honor their trust, and help them overcome their challenges. But how? Without the ability to discuss and collaborate with others, self-doubt can creep in and really begin to affect your ability to lead well, ultimately negatively impacting the results of the organization.
How can a leader avoid the very natural isolation of being in a position of authority without creating division and separation?
We really encourage leaders to find a peer group. CEO’s and senior leadership often have an easier time with this because there are so many CXO focused groups and networks already available. For the mid-level manager, this can be really tough.
This is why our leadership acceleration program is based on a peer cohort group; we want our leaders to start with a trusted peer group where they can bring their issues and not feel so isolated. The peer-cohort is a group of like-minded people to talk to, who are also growing and developing themselves as leaders. Whether it’s inside your organization or not, you have a group of peers to talk about real-world things confidentially. The group will help you work through “how do I best handle these situations?” which can really be helpful for eliminating that isolation and also gives you the confidence to address things head on.
Looking for a leadership cohort in your area? Find out more about LEAP!
Lynda Silsbee is Founder and President of the Alliance for Leadership Acceleration. She has spent more than 30 years creating and leading high performance teams. Along with the other LEAP Certified Coaches, she reports that helping managers make the LEAP to leader is one of the most fulfilling aspects of her work.