Leadership can be a lonely place, if you let it. There are still leaders out there that put walls between themselves and their teams, thinking if they get too close to their teams it could cloud their judgement or create an awkward situation. That can feel very isolating and lonely. The ultimate danger of that isolation is not getting the input you need to effectively lead your team. There is a difference between being accessible and being too close. Don’t let that worry make your leadership a lonely place.
Use these tips to prevent your leadership from being a lonely place.
- Engaging with your team doesn’t mean being their best friend. That is a mistake that some leaders make, leading to that feeling of isolation or lonely place. Teams that are connected to their leader and fellow team colleagues are collaborative, more productive, engaged, and ultimately reduces turnover.
- You don’t always have to be right. As a leader, you want to rely on your team for input. They are the ones closest to the work and what is really happening and have better insight as to what is happening and how to handle the situation. Be curious. Ask questions of your team, allowing them to come up with the best solution for that situation, of course with feedback from you.
- Active listening. Rather than somewhat paying attention to what they are saying and before they are done formulating your response. Stop yourself and listen to everything they are saying, then take a moment to think about how you want to respond, or what follow-up question you might want to ask to get more clarity.
- Teams appreciate being able to interact with their leader. Having a leader show interest in what they are doing provides instant feedback, as well as a feeling of connection.
Leaders can and should be able to share certain aspects of their life and/or career that they are comfortable with sharing. Having some sense of where your leader is coming from or has experienced in the past can form closer connections with their teams.
Resist making leadership a lonely place. Get out there and interact with your team. Every day is an opportunity to learn and grow. Not just for you, also for your team.
If you would like help in shifting your leadership out of the lonely place and engaging your team on a higher level, reach out.