This is one of those sad but true things that happen when you become a leader. Leadership can be lonely and at times you feel as if you are completely alone. When this happens what do you do? Where do you turn? The answers to these question make a huge difference.
Why are Loneliness and Leadership connected?
There are a few main reasons that this seems to be a pattern. I know there may be more but these few are consistent.
- Leaders accept responsibility. Has a leader you carry a load that others do not and therefore they do not understand the weight of that responsibility or the drive that you have to carry through with it.
- Leaders raise the bar. The standard is higher for those who lead. This seems to be consistent across most professions. When the standard becomes more intense you will quickly see the multitudes drop away. The masses are not willing to engage at a high level of accountability and self-improvement.
- Leaders are in front of the pack. This is probably obvious but if there were more people up near the leader we would call that the pack. Leaders are in front of the pack. By definition there are fewer people at that location.
Why does this matter?
Whenever we get discouraged as leaders we immediately look around for someone to understand, someone who is a comrade. At this point, we each look somewhere to gain encouragement, perspective or comfort. Where do you turn? I sometimes turn to God. But many times I just need a fellow leader to talk to, someone who understands what I am going through.
The fact is that there may not be someone in your corner who you can turn to. You may not have a comrade in your field. If this is the case for you I want you to know there are other leaders who want to help.
If you are at the beginning of this journey and want to grow as a leader, know that this is coming.
So when you get discouraged as a leader and look around for a comrade and see no one. Look here. I may have never gone through what you are going through but as a leader I want to help. Let me know if I can help. I want you to know you are NOT alone. There are more people around then you think, you just might have to look a little harder.
9 thoughts on “The Loneliness of Leadership”
Powerful stuff Tim…and very true as well. That’s actually one reason I blog. I like connecting with other leaders of thought and action. Just having someone to turn to in those moments of loneliness can make all the difference.
You are so right. The community of other leaders that you can turn to for advice or even just someone will make you laugh in the middle of all that is going on is extremely valuable. You mentioned that this is one of the reasons you blog, what are the others?
Why do I blog? Love the question……
1. I’m a teacher and I’ve got to satiate that need, first and foremost.
2. Writing constantly about a topic makes me a much better speaker regarding said topic.
3. I’m building my brand.
4. I want to help as many people as possible.
5. By giving value I’ll end up receiving it as well.
6. Building relationships with others is a beautiful thing.
Wow, those are all really good. I especially like number 2. I love to speak on leadership and writing helps me a ton think through everything. Number 6 takes the cake though. Love it. Thanks for sharing man.
This is a great post, Tim.
Thank you for writing this. I am in need of a comrade who truly understands my plight. This journey, to lead, is a natural part of me. I can’t ignore it. Even when I become disillusioned, I don’t stay in that space that long. I get up, brush off, and keep moving. You said it best when you wrote, “The masses are not willing to engage at a high level of accountability and self-improvement.” YES! YES! YES!
The great Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton observed in his book, South, “Loneliness is the penalty of leadership.” What is true in the Antarctic is true in our lives as well as Tim highlighted so well. I wonder if David experienced this and since he could not blog 🙂 “he strengthened himself in the Lord” (1 Sam 30:6).
Thanks for your comment. I have consistently enjoyed the adventure of Shackleton and his crew, but admittedly I enjoy David and his men a lot more.