5 Answers for Leadership Loneliness

Power and position complicate relationship-building.

If you’re a leader, you’re never just a buddy.

Relationships are the foundation of leadership, but anyone who controls assignments, compensation, and advancement is never just a friend.

Solitude and loneliness:

Solitude to quiet your mind, self-reflect, rest, and plan your future is the difference between focused and frantic.

Always-on is a destructive myth.

No one gives 100% effort 100% of the time.

“Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.” Paul Tillich

Loneliness limits your potential and hampers your performance.

“The combination of toxic effects can impair cognitive performance, compromise the immune system, and increase the risk for vascular, inflammatory, and heart disease.

Studies show that loneliness increases the risk for early death by 45 percent and the chance of developing dementia in later life by 64 percent.” (Dr. Sanjay Gupta)

5 answers for leadership loneliness:

  1. Accept that loneliness is part of life. There’s nothing wrong with you. Nearly ⅔ of CEOs don’t receive outside input from coaches or advisors. (Stanford)
  2. Actively connect with people.
    • Invite someone to go with you on your daily walk-abouts.
    • Have one-on-ones in a coffee shop.
    • Buy lunch for someone. Food facilitates connection.
    • Learn about your team members so you can find common interests.
  3. Invite trusted colleagues and/or coaches into the conversation when you’re grappling with tough issues. There’s no need for you to face big challenges alone. Just say, “I’m grappling with an important issue and wonder if I could borrow your listening ear for a bit?”
  4. Share your disappointments and press into the future.
  5. Use the phone instead of email, occasionally.

Bonus: Occasionally, I visit clients just to let them know I care – no business. It might not help them, but I sure feel good. You might try the same.

What causes leadership loneliness?

How might leaders solve the loneliness challenge?