Monday, January 15, 2018

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become a More Effective Leader

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted
is the most terrible poverty.
--- Mother Teresa

We’ve all heard the adage, “It’s lonely at the top.” Why do leaders often feel lonely? One reason is the complex psychological adjustment to authority and the unexpected nature of the peerless role. 

Leaders often feel their heads are on the chopping block when faced with difficult decisions with no clear answer. 

As Sarah Wright of the University of Canterbury and I found in a recent study, these feelings of being accountable for tough decisions combined with a lack of socioemotional support tend to generate loneliness in leaders. 

Think about it: Who does a leader talk to when making these complex decisions? In many cases, they feel they need to present themselves as wise and omniscient in order to preserve their status in the organization. 

For these reasons, they often do not talk to their employees or even board members about the insecurities they feel around making the right decision.

Add to this toxic cocktail the emotion theorist Nico Frijda’s finding that perceived uncertainty tends to lead to negative emotions and it is easy to understand why leaders are often consumed by anxiety, insecurity, and loneliness.

This week, reflect on your social support network and who you can confide in and bounce ideas off of when making complex decisions. Take action to expand this network and, in so doing, your well-being and capacity to sustain yourself as a leader.

Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through purchases, click here.

1 comment:

  1. With this being my second year as an Elementary Principal, this post hits home in every category. I have had a challenging year with everything stated above. It is comforting to read that I am not alone in this leadership struggle. Thank you for sharing this post.