When I was first promoted to the role of President and CEO, I became very familiar with the phrase “It’s lonely at the top.” Anyone who has made the move from the role of a worker on the team, to be the one in charge of the team, knows it can be a challenging transition. Whether it’s true or not, you have the feeling that the entire department, or company, is now waiting for your direction, and watching your every move. Your superiors are watching too. Was this the right decision, putting this person in charge?
You aren’t alone. Very few professions require that we work completely alone. Most of us get to interact with multiple groups of people in our professional life. Though you may be the leader or the owner, the people who work for you are part of your team. Without them, you cannot succeed. Without you, your team cannot succeed. When you work together, you are much more likely to succeed at achieving your goals. It’s up to you to create a positive team environment where that can happen.
Boss ≠ Smartest. Sometimes our ego gets in our way. We confuse our self-worth with our title, or perceived status. When in reality, how we treat others is the greatest indicator of what kind of a person we are. The best leaders know that by surrounding yourself with people who are smarter and/or more skilled than you, giving them the tools they need to do their jobs well, you will all achieve more.
Look outside the box. When I took the position of CEO at a women’s retail company, a friend introduced me to another woman who had recently been promoted to President of a local University. When the two of us first met, I remember both of us had pretty low expectations that we would have much of anything in common to talk about. We were wrong. We both had similar challenges with personnel, challenges with local government entities and regulations, and information technology updates that were supposed to make things run smoother but always took us a lot longer to adjust to than expected.
Seek out others in your community who are in similar positions, regardless of their industry. Get outside of your four walls and gain a new perspective by chatting with someone outside of your business. It’s amazing what you can learn. Check out networking groups like Business Network International (BNI). Tap into the power of being around other successful and motivated people.
Work Life Balance. It is highly unlikely your business will fall apart if you take a little time off. It is vitally important to your mental and physical health to take time to recharge your battery. It’s good for you, and for your team as well!
Finally, commit to being impressed, not impressive. Those who are humble and curious are rarely lonely. Allow yourself the time and energy to cultivate meaningful connections at work and elsewhere. Nothing is more crucial to our success than our relationships with other people.