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If It's Lonely At The Top, You're Not Doing Something Right

When you first got into a leadership position, were you ever advised to keep a distance from your employees? Or maybe that "leaders are supposed to be above and set apart from everyone else"?

I was told a version of this in numerous leadership positions when I first started leading; and I took that information seriously! To me at the time, I thought it made sense because the position demanded respect...right? I remember only spending time around other leaders in the company, looking over at the table or group of employees telling myself that I was in a more elite position.

Oh how I was wrong!

Companies who had this leader's environment, had something else too. They had drama, higher turnover rates, and a higher number of complaints or frustration at all levels. The company environment was not adaptable or resilient, and didn't have a value-based system. For example, when we had meetings to announce a change whether good or bad, there was pushback. Employees felt like their voice wasn't heard and their work wasn't appreciated. The communication between leadership and team was non-existent. Imagine what that did to the mission readiness or company goals! I remember always feeling like I couldn't get on top of the issues. We'd barely scrape by with our company results and constantly brought in new people in hopes that it would fix the problems. Something wasn't working, and I made it my mission to find out what...

Leadership is a serving position. You are there to ensure your employees are the star players, not you. If you look at all of the great accomplishments in life, no one ever got to the top alone. It was always a team. Jules Ormont Said, "A great leader never sets himself above his followers except in carrying responsibilities." That's why the environment I mentioned above didn't work. That environment casts leaders as the start players.

When you put your employees into the position of "star player" instead, you'll start to see a few changes happen.

  1. Drama and complaints will die down.
  2. Employees will stop jumping ship
  3. Every level of the company will start feeling more valuable
  4. Goals will be completed faster
  5. Over-all company revenue will increase

When a leader goes into her or his team, builds relationships and value, and puts each person in the best position within that team, it creates a successful environment. If you love people and learn what makes them tick, you will build much more influence and therefore have the ability to lead them better. If you build influence within your team, you will have people who are willing and ready to help you achieve your goals.

A leader who cares, is a leader who can influence their team.

In Dr. John C. Maxell's book, The Leadership Handbook, he outlines 4 key steps for leaders to build a good environment:

  1. Avoid Positional Thinking
  2. Realize The Downsides Of Success And Failure
  3. Understand That You Are In The People Business
  4. Buy Into The Law Of Significance

All-in-all, if you can build a group of people up that work together for a common goal, you can move mountains.

If you're a leader, and you feel isolated, then you're not doing something right. Loneliness on the part of a leader is a choice. I choose to take the journey with people. I hope you do too. (excerpt from The Leadership Handbook)

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