It’s lonely at the top

There are two faces to leadership.  There is the one you see in the mirror, and there is the one that others see. As you take on more and more responsibility, the pressure to perform for others and to direct their activities intensifies.  You are the one with all the answers.

A security moat surrounds fort defenses in Copenhagen, Denmark

A security moat surrounds the fort defenses of the 17th century Kastellet in Copenhagen, DenmarkAt the same time, the difference between how you see and make sense of yourself and who you are, versus how others see you, becomes more and more pronounced.  Others rely on you to have answers. They look to you for optimism and hope. They expect consistency and safety.

But you know that the world is a difficult, uncertain and complex place.

When you begin to feel this distance, it is important to realize that these feelings are a natural part of the experience of leadership. As Kamahshi Sivarakrishnan, a former Google associate and the Founder and CEO of Drawbridge, a cross device advertising platform, says:

“Over time you learn to create a layer of insulation between your employees and the reality you feel as a leader and the pressure to deliver for  investors. It is truly lonely, and I don’t mean lonely in a despondent way.  Not everyone around you is conditioned to handle the kind of pressure that you can as the entrepreneur, leader, CEO and founder.”

Source: Bryant, Adam (Feb 28, 2016) “Finding direction off the beaten path.” New York Times, Business-2.