The Tribeless Tribal Leader: CEOs Shouldn’t Go It Alone
We’ve all heard the expression “it’s lonely at the top.” Having worked closely with CEOs and business owners for much of my career, I can attest to there being truth behind that statement. Business leaders often feel isolated-the buck is supposed to stop with you, after all.
When a CEO allows leadership to become a solitary act, however, the problems can be far greater than feeling alone. Without a community of peers or trusted confidants, a leader can easily get stuck in analysis paralysis, can overlook his own shortcomings to the company’s detriment, and worse.
1. Identify your needs.
The heads of organizations are most in need of unbiased information and honest feedback, yet they’re least likely to receive it. That’s why the best leaders recognize they can’t go it alone, and that even the strongest person needs support.
Here are three steps I’ve seen CEOs use to successfully transition from feelings of solitude to a sense of community.
2. Find your tribe(s).
The first step in finding the right tribe is to be clear on your goals. Do you need advice for dealing with personnel issues? Are you seeking honest feedback because you don’t get it from your team? Have you reached a plateau and need a push to reach a new level of growth? Would a strategic partnership with another CEO’s company be beneficial to your own?
For each of your needs, brainstorm what type of person or community would be most helpful. It’s likely there will be some overlap, but you may find you require several different resources.
Once you know what you need, you can seek the appropriate avenues for support. You may want to build a coalition or join an existing one.
3. Ask for help.
To foster your own relationships, reach out to leaders in your network. You can appeal to people in unrelated industries or extend invites to competitors if you feel comfortable. Expand your reach by attending networking events or participating in association groups.
If you lack the connections needed to meet your needs, you may want to hire an executive coach to guide and support you. Or, consider joining a peer advisory group, which will not only help you build your skills but will also provide you a safe place to seek advice and help you find potential partners for powerful collaborations.
It may be uncomfortable at first, especially for an overachieving leader, but vulnerability is an important part of inviting others into your world. You’ll need to let down your guard and trust others enough to confide in them.
Once you’ve found a safe and supportive community, be ready to get honest about your problems or humbly ask for help in achieving your goals. You’re likely to find a team of people who can relate to your experiences and who are excited to support you in meeting your challenges head on.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on March 10, 2017.