Isolated Leadership: Dangers and Solutions

Dr Cloud on failing
Isolated leaders inevitably run down, grow ineffective, and become irrelevant. Closed systems die slow deaths.

Don’t wait for the energy fairy. She ain’t coming.

What happens when you place a frog in water that’s slowly being heated? They don’t jump out, they die.

The increasing heat of leadership subtly cooks isolated leaders.

Isolation feels safe but it kills.

You’re isolated and running down if you feel:

  1. Disconnected.
  2. Distrustful.
  3. Unsupported.
  4. Misunderstood.
  5. Constantly guarded.

Warning: Leaders frequently lean toward isolation.

In his new book, “Boundaries for Leaders,” Dr. Henry Cloud says:

“Set boundaries on your tendency to be a ‘closed system,’ and open yourself to outside inputs that bring you energy and guidance.”

Solitude isn’t a leadership strategy.

Open yourself to influence, input, and support from outside your organization. Closed systems inevitably die. Dr. Cloud says the benefits of outside input includes:

  1. Insight into new models of leading.
  2. Motivation and development.
  3. Help overcoming obstacles.
  4. Support through valleys.
  5. Protection from worst instincts.

“Leaders need outside voices to provide emotional and functional support…” Dr. Cloud.

You need reminders to get out of yourself and the organization you lead. Dr. Cloud suggests:

  1. Know your personal kookiness. You aren’t perfectly rational 100% of the time.
  2. Get coaching.
  3. Join a leadership group.
  4. Take courses and attend conferences.
  5. Seek and listen to feedback. “To be the best you can be, you must develop a hunger for feedback…”

A note on kooky:

Acknowledging idiosyncrasies frees; hiding them confines.

All leaders have “special” built in over-reactions, biases in perception, and instinctual responses that don’t work. Acknowledging “special qualities” opens and strengthens leadership.

How can leaders overcome the tendency to isolate?

What behaviors help leaders connect?

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