Bite size – it is lonely being the CEO

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Welcome to Bite Size – our bi-monthly blog where we explore a topic in bite size form – short, sharp and easy to digest

CEOs seem to have it all – power, status, a high salary and teams of people to command. But despite all this, being the head of an organisation can be the loneliest job in the world.

This week it is National Loneliness Week and CEOs are not immune to the pitfalls of loneliness as heading up a company can often be an isolating and friendless experience. CEO’s don’t always get the honest feedback they need and can, instead, be surrounded by ‘yes’ people. Whilst employees can be friendly this can sometimes be false as they would rather tell the CEO what they think they want to hear instead of being honest.

There is a lot of pressure for CEOs especially as everyone from board members and the executive team, to employees and customers, view the CEO as the ultimate go-to decision maker in a company. The success or failure of a company ultimately lies squarely on a CEO’s shoulders.
There are many things that CEOs can do to address this sense of loneliness:

  • Appoint one or two great senior management partners to share some of the responsibility and ideas
  • Recruit one or two people who could serve as partners/mentors to your board
  • Find an outside mentor that you can confide in
  • Join a group of other CEOs who you can connect with and learn from

If you are a lonely CEO, remember you’re certainly not alone. Look at the list above and implement the points that best align with the context of your position. Then, set a goal for doing at least one of them and dedicate some time to exploring the possibilities. Also, let your team, board, investors, and network know about your goal so that they can open their networks to you and provide some help.

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