How can a leader deal with isolation?

What can a leader do about being isolated?

When you’re a leader, you get fewer inputs from the people around you because “you’re the boss,” and fewer of those inputs you do get are honest, so fewer are actually that useful.

There isn’t the shared suffering and connection that there is in the less isolated ranks, and to be blunt, work gets a little lonely.

When you get lonely, your perspective shifts, and that can affect the decisions that you make, especially if you are not getting the complete story from employees who are not fully inclined to be completely honest with you. (We can call this – in the end of 2022 – the “Putin Effect.”)

There’s two effects of isolation on a leader: emotional, which is difficult personally, and then there’s the practical, that your choices may not be as good as they could be if you were fully informed.

Our positions:

Mike: Connecting work to charitable and getting off social media can help, although isolation is inevitable.

Shaun: Most of us would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.

David: Isolation can be mitigated by intentionally maintaining and creating relationships with those around you who are good for you.


MM: “In some ways it’s unavoidable, you’re never going to spend 10 years as a CEO and say you never felt alone. That’s never going to happen.”

MM: “You find something that is good for you to do, but you also find something that is good for the team to do, it’s both.”

MM: “A lot of isolation is fueled by a lack of trust.”

SP: “When you take a position of leadership, you almost always take your significant other with you into that position, because you can’t have all the significant discussions you need to have inside the building.”

SP: “Your introspection as a leader needs to be off the charts.”

SP: “You have a great employee when they are honest with you, not just tell you what you want to hear.”

DF: “Employees often default to answering ‘great’ or ‘fine’ to almost every question a boss will ask and real human connection is based on something based in truth.”

DF: “You have to go out of your way and demonstrate that you’re honest and demonstrate that you value someone’s feedback, even when the feedback isn’t in the end valuable. It’s truly the connection that is valuable.”

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