The Lie and Losses of Lonely Leaders

“It’s lonely at the top” “Never let them see you sweat” “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” Deeply ingrained into many of us is this supposed ideal of the leader as a stoic, unaffected, isolated figure. Particularly those of earlier generations have been encultured to believe that effective leadership involves setting a clear boundary between yourself and those below you on the org chart. Last month I wrote about how hiding our insecurity as leaders is a critical mistake. A new article in the Harvard Business Review brings emphasis to a related consideration: vulnerability. Picking up on the important work of Brene Brown, the article explores how effective bosses can use appropriate authentic vulnerability to build stronger connections with their teams, leading to better engagement, higher performance, and better decision making. In the charitable sector this is of even greater importance. If we reduce the employment relationship to it’s bare mechanics it will be very difficult to satisfy the increasingly intrinsically motivated workforce. We can’t compete on pay and perks, we must be people. Of course, no one wants to be on the receiving end of a leader who indiscriminately exposes all their personal issues That is always a sign of immaturity and insecurity in some form. A wise leader has the intuition to know how to acknowledge their humanity and imperfection without becoming a drama king or queen.