Being a leader often means you are surrounded by lots of people. The leader’s day is filled with discussions, decisions and conversations with people. It is indeed a busy job. The leader takes care of people’s well being and emotional safety. Simon Sinek has a book called” Leaders eat last”. When leaders finished “serving” people, who is there to share the pain of being a leader? Leaders, who are often surrounded by lots of people, are at great risk of loneliness. There are few people in the organization that can truely appreciate the unique challenges that leading an organization brings. This who can understand and appreciate the pain points of driving changes, making tough decisions and taking on challenges are likely to be at a competitive position. Who is the loneliest person at the company? It is the leader.
Good leader takes risks in their decision making. When a leaders take a risk with a bold decision in order to drive the organization forward, people without that vision and audacity will not understand, needless to say appreciate why the leader make that decision. It sometimes seems like the leader is the only one believe in that decision. When the positive results arrive, people start to trust and appreciate the leader. However, until then, it was a lonely journey.
There is a common profile among leaders: well-spoken, present well, assertive, engaging. Are leaders all just from the same clothes? not exactly. Most of them possess the right qualities to be a leader. However, from time to time, leaders put on a mask to present the right image in order to cover whatever that needs to be covered underneath. Under the mask, there could be struggle, pain and disappointment. Who really know the ugliness underneath the mask? The leader himself/herself.
Being a leader requires helping people. The leaders that is well-liked are the ones that are very friendly. Being friendly does not mean that leader shares his/her inner thoughts. True leaders arable to conceive their emotions. After all, an organization is also a war field. If a leader is hard to read, who is there to understand him/her other than himself/herself?
“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak” — The Art of War | Sun Tzu
“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” — Robert Louis Stevenson |Treasure Island
“Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack.” -The Art of War | Sun Tzu
Despite the war contest of this quote, it applies to today’s business world and it does not mean sacrificing a leader’s integrity. When a leader open up about his true thoughts to the people around him/her, the ones we can understand and appreciate the unique position the leader is in, sometimes are the ones start a coup. Especially when the leader is reaching later point of his/her career, the one who are in the inner circle of the leaders thoughts, starts a coup. Driven by the ambition, wrong motivation, and “too much transparency” provided by the leader. A strong leader stands till the ends through battles and war. Once a leader open up, it invites the risk of a coup.
A leader is someone who give everything to his/her people and find himself/herself lonely with the thoughts. That is why leaders seek to leadership coach. Someone who as no interest in a position in the organization and able to provide an external point of view. What is a coach?
Coach = psychologist + emotional support+ reflection mirror
Yes, that is what a coach does for the leader to keep them on track.
As an accountability coach, I work with leaders. I have seen how the ” loneliness” can create the self-doubt at some critical points of decision making. A leader carries tremendous amount of weight on their shoulders, the support helps them to be the better leaders for a team.
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” —Vince Lombardi