Lonely at the top? Not this way

Heinz Landau, writing in The Nation, says the concept of ‘it’s lonely at the top’ is all too common. But there is a style of leadership that avoids the lonely boss syndrome, he explains.

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John Maxwell, the American leadership guru, states: “If you feel lonely at the top, you are not doing something right. Loneliness comes from personality, not from position.”

My own leadership experience confirms Maxwell’s statement. If you find yourself a lonely, isolated leader, then you have a personality issue and poor people skills.

Let me share with you how you can avoid being lonely at the top:

Connect with people on all levels across the organisation. The ability to connect with people is a critical attribute of great leaders. You need to invest time and energy to do so. It will give you a great amount of influence. Connect with people on all hierarchical levels in order to overcome the distance. Some call this MBWA: management by walking around. Make sure you don’t apply positional thinking, since it will cause you to disconnect with your people. And isolated leaders are not effective.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. In my previous company, we created regular monthly events like “Coffee talk with the MD and “Lunch with the MD”, in which five staff members were randomly selected to have coffee or lunch with me, as the MD. Any topics could be raised, any questions could be asked. Every two months we held a “Leadership team meets staff” event, where all staff members could participate. After the leadership team gave a brief overview about the progress we made towards our company’s main goals, employees could ask any questions that were of interest to them.

Build intentional relationships. Effective leaders take… Read more..

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2 comments on “Lonely at the top? Not this way

  1. Cate says:

    What a great article! It’s easy to get a jaundiced view of things in the corporate world, no matter where you are on the totem pole/in the dogsled team.

    I’m nowhere near the top, but can honestly say I love my team and, for the most part, the entire staff. There’s no substitute for good relationships.

    Quite refreshing to hear the perspective of a German as well, as I’ve seen multiple American management styles, not all of them worth emulating.

    • Arabella says:

      And he’s based in Thailand, Kate – very different culture again. Thanks for your feedback – would be intereste to know if your approach and feelings about your team is echoed by the people at the top of your tree…?

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