Executives Find it is Lonely at the Top
More and more C-level employees, business owners, presidents and CEO's are finding out, on a daily basis, it is lonely at the top. The loneliness felt by these executives stems from the ability of not having anyone to talk to or confide in. Sure, an executive may have a lot of people who will listen to them and provide advice. But executives today are living in fear that these "suspects" will play the "yes man" and provide the answers that they think the executive will want hear or worse, they will use their learned issues against the executives as weaknesses to later exploit. And with the economy in its current shape, executives are less willing to bring their issues home to discuss with their significant other. The executives feel that their family is dealing with too much stress already and bringing work issues home will bring additional burdens onto the family. Friends are not considered an option either. Since we tend to socialize with "like" people, our friends might provide the same responses we would come up with or or might not want to jeopardize the friendship by telling us something we do not want to hear. As an executive, you need an outlet – someone to talk to – to relieve this stress and provide a sounding board. Listed below are three things you can do to combat this loneliness:
Spend time with your significant other – You do not want to burden your significant other with all of your work issues but you should and need to. Set aside 20 minutes every night – free from interruptions and distractions; a chance for you and your significant other to only focus on each other. This time should be after dinner but not right before bed. Each one of you takes turns speaking and listening about the issues you are facing and with what you require assistance. When the 20 minutes is up, the issues are done until tomorrow's 20 minute session.
Phone a friend – Pick a friend who exhibits a different personality from you and who will not just say what they feel you want to hear. Arrange a time for you to phone them and use them as a sounding board. This needs to be a focused phone conversation. With friends we tend to socialize when we are physically together. Focus on the issues, not the friendship.
Guidance and Peer Groups – Numerous organizations exist to "coach" and "guide" executives. You should consider these as a strong alternative to your significant other or a friend. A trained professional will provide a clear unbiased opinion and feedback of the issue and be a great sounding board for you. The important part is to do your homework. A lot of these so called "coaches" have little or know experience in guiding people. Be sure you are working with someone who has a significant experience in the business world and has guided other executives.
Whatever you do – do something! It is lonely at the top but managed properly you will be able and need to find an outlet which suits you best.
Good luck and BE GREAT!