It’s Lonely At The Top..Leadership and Loneliness

Most people think that being the leader must be the best thing in the world. To be the one in charge must be everything right? Well, too many times in my work with Corporate Therapy I work with executives, managers or leaders of some type who struggle with loneliness that can turn into anxiety, stress or even depression. How is this possible? Being the point person who calls the shots is not always fun, many times it involves making some difficult decisions.

As the leader, you are the person in charge, the go to person that should have all the answers. There is a glass wall between you and the rest of the employees. Yes they know to come to you with questions or problems, but they also know you are the one that can fire someone, demote them or promote them. You are the one that can change their life dramatically for good or bad.

Being the leader means you “should” maintain distance from the employees, sit in your corner office and keep an eye out on what everyone is doing. You have probably learned that the last thing you should do is be the employees’ friend or the person they hang out and have a beer with after work. Being the leader makes you the “bad guy/girl” automatically because you hold the power that affects their whole life. You are the person responsible for the success of the business, the employees’ welfare and productiveness and to somehow maintain your own personal needs in balance.

If you as a leader have ever worked for someone else, then you probably have an idea that employees will talk about their leaders when they do not like them. The one thing that can bond employees is a dislike for their leader it gives them something to bond over if they have nothing else that’s better to focus on. Misery loves company. As a leader, you are not made of sticks and stones so gossip and names may not bother you for a while but eventually you feel the small talk getting to you and possible affecting your self-esteem. You may even notice that lunchtime is lonely and you eat lunch at your desk alone watching other workers leave in groups to enjoy their lunch.

The thing about being a leader is that you do not have to be lonely. Most leaders were groomed or taught to be stern like a parent. Ruling with an iron fist or micro managing will definitely leave you the lonely leader. However, if you decide to try something new here are a few tips on how you can get started on being the leader your workers will want to be around.

  • Try smiling when you see your employees or workers. Let them know you have good days too!
  • Stop and talk to one or two a day and share something about yourself that is non-work related but still professional such as, “How was your weekend? I actually had to stay home and clean out the garage and get ready for a garage sale”.
  • Is there anything that you have been working on that you can use some guidance or help on?
  • Go to the lunchroom and bring some afternoon chocolates or snacks, send an email out and say something like “there’s chocolate in the break room for afternoon energy drop! Please email me back for some snack ideas you would like!”

In other words, try to find ways to connect beyond the hi and bye passing in the hallway. Your door, unless you are on a private call can be left open inviting workers to come in and talk. However, they have to know they are invited to come in. Many times new employees will be told on the first day orientation “we have an open door policy” announcement and they never hear about that again. If you do not invest time in forming relationships with your workers or employees they will never trust you and you will feel alone.

As a leader, you need great employees that you can trust to do their best. How will you know they are doing their best? It all begins with building trusting relationships. The one thing I do know for sure are people want to feel valued, needed, trusted, and heard. In my next blog I will cover these values in more detail to help you learn and grow to be an awesome leader.

For more information on how I can help you become a quality leader you’re your employees can respect and trust contact me at or 708-834-0909.