The feeling of loneliness experienced by a person in top leadership positions is quite gloomy. But, unfortunately, as the final decision-maker, we can sometimes fall isolated and let our ego dictates that we must have all the answers (after all, that’s what we are paid for;-)).

CEOs are admired and challenged; they embody the company’s vision and carry the weight of the decisions that will take the company to the top or the bottom. Yet, CEOs are constantly coveted, scrutinised, judged, and dissected internally and externally and remained desperately alone at the top of the pyramid.

The role of the CEO is complex. It involves high stakes, both in terms of the mission of success imposed on him and the personal stakes he represents for those around him. He is learning to establish lasting relationships of trust, setting up an organisation where the top executive becomes an inspiring leader who knows how to rely on his colleagues rather than playing the supremacy card that condemns him to solitude and isolation. All this is a delicate, sensitive and fragile exercise that requires the utmost attention and must not be ignored under any circumstances.

And so, the destructive spiral begins or continues because not one person has all the knowledge or skills to make the best decision. Yet, despite this, we persist.

 Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.

In the book “Why smart executives fail: and what you can learn from their mistakes”, Sydney Finkelstein interviewed 197 CEOs who left their companies after failure. The author concludes that few of these top executives’ qualifications, intelligence, performance or lack of vision led to their loss. Still, instead how, they built up a close relationship with their immediate entourage: when the business started to drift, the top manager was defensive, putting on blinkers to avoid facing up to the reality of the facts, with great difficulty in managing change or even without taking a stand when, indeed, it was a question of correcting the trajectory.

What is the price of getting out of the CEO’s solitude? In a context where invulnerability and absolute performance are becoming the rule, how can executive coaching help CEOs interact better, step back, and accept and value even their ‘vulnerabilities’?

What is the price of getting out of the CEO’s solitude? In a context where invulnerability and absolute performance are becoming the rule, how can executive coaching help CEOs interact better, step back, and accept and value even their ‘vulnerabilities’?

What is the price of getting out of the CEO’s solitude? In such a context where invulnerability and absolute performance are becoming the rule, how can executive coaching help CEOs to interact better, step back, and to accept and value even their ‘vulnerabilities’?

According to Stephen Mills, CEO of The Miles Group, leaders must have the best possible outside advice to keep their business healthy. But worryingly, most leaders prefer to go it alone. “Even the best CEOs have weaknesses and could dramatically improve their performance with outside guidance. The most important findings from the survey are:

The progress achieved is not openly attributed to coaching.

Many people resist coaching tangible skills because it is uncomfortable to face them or they can’t do it. However, combining soft and hard skills enhances a CEO’s motivational and inspirational skills and can impact their effectiveness.”

Act sooner rather than later.

Whether in business or specific departments of my personal life, it has sometimes required humility and an investment of time and money to seek help. The complexity of the business environment makes complex, rapid, and impactful decisions in this context. Overcoming the loneliness of the leader deciphers the critical factors of entrepreneurial loneliness. It shows that isolation is not an end and that many measures exist to combat it.




Author(s)

  • Sunita Sehmi

    Organisational Dev I Exec Leadership Coach I Author I Mentor I

    Walk The Talk

    Org Dev Consultant I Exec Leadership Performance Coach I DEI Warrior I Author I Mentor I Work smarter I Live better I Think deeper. With over three decades of expertise in multicultural environments, Sunita brings a unique blend of Indian, British, and Swiss heritage to her consultancy, fostering a deep understanding of organisational contexts and her clients. Sunita‚Äôs insights and expertise are tailored to elevate your leadership.