leadership isolation

Nine Ways to Battle Leadership Isolation

YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council) surveyed some folks about how they deal with leadership isolation. Here are their answers:

How do you avoid leadership isolation?


1. Make Time for Other Leaders

It doesn’t have to be lonely at the top. The key is investing time in relationships with other leaders outside of your own organization. Find peers. Look for people that can relate with you and with whom you can be open and honest. Find people more successful than you are. Growing a group of great leaders that can truly support you takes time, but it’s worth it.

2. Put Together an Informal Crew of Advisors

Find yourself a group of advisors comprised of similarly situated peers, elder statesmen of your industry, former professors/teachers, and smart friends. Try to have legal, business and familial perspectives in this cadre of advisors to give you a diversity of perspectives. Set a calendar reminder to speak with them at least once per month and be diligent about following through.

3. Collaborate With Your Mentors

Even as a CEO, I always find that spending time with my mentors provides a strong value to me personally and professionally. It gives me the feeling that I am not alone or isolated as I make large decisions for the company. Regardless of how successful a leader is, surrounding oneself with smart individuals that always look out for your best interest is a necessity.

4. Be Humble

No matter how complex your company’s technology, process, or the details of your execution may be, always be humble and assume that you have not thought of every aspect or best practice. Trust your team, always be open-minded, and listen to the discussions with other mentors, advisors, board members, and your team’s opinions and suggestions.
– Nemoy Rau, US Biometrix

5. Make Time for Interaction Inside and Outside the Office

As a leader, your schedule will undoubtedly be different than that of your employees, and times for daily interaction may be challenging to find. Make the time by attending or organizing events outside of the office. Be approachable and let your team know when you’ll be in the office if they need to speak with you. Don’t just be a boss, be a friend, and you’ll find no isolation as a leader.

6. Help Others

The best approach to networking is palms up, not out. So if you want to find other entrepreneurs to network with, you should give first, not get. It’s not only a good life practice, but other leaders will be eager to mentor you and collaborate, and you’ll get back what you give tenfold.

7. Ask for Feedback on an Ongoing Basis

It’s imperative to ask for feedback on an ongoing basis in a way that makes it 100 percent clear you’re open to feedback. If a leader asks for feedback rarely or appears intimidating, he or she will operate in a silo and not have the benefit of understanding their team’s immediate needs.
– Jeremy Goldman, Firebrand Group

8. Meditate

Most people will tell you to connect with others, and that’s undoubtedly helpful, but something that I’ve worked on is accepting and being OK with the isolation. I’ve done this through meditation. I got turned onto meditation by 10% Happier and through daily practice have settled with the daily isolation. About 99 percent of the time, you’re making the hardest decisions alone — embrace that reality.

9. Spend Time With Your Team Outside Of Work

I’m a big proponent for spending time with different members of your team. Whether it’s a company event or an after-work happy hour, it’s worth the effort. By doing so, you will inspire loyalty and motivation at different levels of the organization, and you will get important insights into company culture and processes that you will not be able to see when you wear your CEO hat all the time.



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Young Entrepreneur Council

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective (http://businesscollective.com), a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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