A recent survey featured in Forbes found that CEOs identified “loneliness” as one of their biggest job hazards/complaints. With no one to confide in about the many difficult and/or confidential matters that often roll up to them, leaders have long lamented that “it’s lonely at the top.” But is it? And could their loneliness in some part reflect work conditions that the leaders themselves had a hand in creating?
Following, in Part 2 of this special two-part series, two leadership experts explore the nuances of executive loneliness/isolation and offer top tips to help leaders break down walls and enhance their approachability among employees.
Life in the Ivory Tower
Lynn Taylor, workplace expert and author of the best-selling book “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior & Thrive In Your Job” (www.tameyourtot.com), believes that the phrase “it’s lonely at the top” is valid for many reasons. “When you’re at the top of an organization chart, that by definition means that there are few peers at your level and most others in the company directly or indirectly report to you,” she said. “The reality is that there are legal, strategic, budgeting, HR, and other ‘big picture’ issues that can’t readily be shared with the team at large.”
However, she noted, “if the company is operating correctly, executives are constantly engaging with not only mid-level managers, but those at all levels, keeping their pulse on the organization. By staying in the ‘ivory tower,’ C-suite executives are doing themselves and the company a disservice.”