5 Cures for Leadership-loneliness

Leaders feel lonely.

Relationship boundaries stretch and occasionally break. In addition, change, innovation, or new initiatives may cause loyalties to evaporate.

If you’ve never experienced the loneliness of leadership, I wonder if you’ve ever led. But, persistent leadership-loneliness is self-inflicted.

12 Reasons you’re a lonely leader

  1. Going too far too fast
  2. Waiting for people to appreciate you
  3. Faking who you are
  4. Shutting others out
  5. Sharing conclusions rather than processes
  6. Not building a support network
  7. Expecting agreement and rejecting dissent
  8. Believing leaders are omniscient and omnipotent
  9. Emotionally investing in unexamined ideas
  10. Using people for selfish reasons
  11. Not building a culture of ownership
  12. Investing more in projects and programs than people


Beyond the list of 12, I feel leadership-loneliness when I feel out of step with others. I find I care about things others don’t care about. I feel most isolated when people I care about make negative assumptions about my motives.

Legitimate reasons

There are legitimate reasons leaders feel lonely.  Suffering because you’re keeping a confidence feels lonely. Following a dream that others don’t understand creates distance.

Top 5 cures for leadership-loneliness

  1. Be who you are – take time to reflect. Faking drains you.
  2. Listen to dissent and examining your passions early in the process.
  3. Build a support network.
  4. Create a culture of ownership.
  5. Engage others in the process.

Why are leaders lonely?

How can leaders deal with loneliness?