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It has often been said, “It’s lonely at the top.” When you are leading a team, you will, at times, find this is true–leading can be lonely. This is especially true when you may not get the opportunity to see your team in person. 

 

No successful organization would be where it is today without effective leadership. Effective leadership is generally one of the primary drivers of growth, development, and innovation. But remember, leadership is not about titles or positions. There is no formula for leadership; leadership positions are worked for and earned. The best leaders grow organically based on the culture and needs of the organization. And because of this, they always put the people on the team they are responsible for first.

 

Leadership is about vision. It is about setting the tone and the culture of the business. Leadership is creating and planning, looking out for and improving errors. It is about helping and motivating people to collaborate to achieve a specific goal. Leadership is about securing resources and getting out of the way to allow your team to do their best work. 

 

Not everyone can lead. Leading is hard. Every effective leader needs to own and work towards their goals and vision. They are the key to improved productivity and morale among their team. 

 

Good leaders are decisive. They are not going to waste time; this includes the time needed to make decisions. When waiting for decisions, productivity can be significantly reduced. Effective leaders are about making well-informed decisions. They commit to the decisions and see them through unless new information arises. 

 

Good, effective leadership involves leading by example. It is hard to respect someone who asks people to work towards a goal if they do not work towards it themselves. Leaders look to meet the bar they set for others. Five Qualities to Improve to Be an Effective Leader, an article in Forbes, says, “A leader who rolls up their sleeves and gets dirty from time to time will create loyalty in his or her people that will result in achieving goals beyond what we usually expect.”

 

Effective leaders are problem-solvers who do not dwell on problems. Instead, they work towards a solution. They do not have the answers all the time, but they are always working to find answers. They do not complain; instead, they look to move forward–always focused on the goals.

 

Good leadership is about believing the work you do matters. They will never say, “It’s just a job,” or “I only work here.” They care about what they do and the team they are responsible for. They desire to make a difference.

 

The best leaders are humble and accountable. This lends itself to the fact that leadership is based on gaining the respect of others rather than relying on position or title within the organization. It is humility that creates open-minded leaders who are willing to listen to others and accept constructive criticism. Pride is not an issue. They take responsibility rather than casting blame on others when something goes wrong. 

 

Leaders always give credit to members of their team or the team as a whole. They are quick to accolade the people who met the goal. They know that success is a team effort and make sure to acknowledge the effort that others put in.

 

Leaders know how to help others grow. They are there to train and mentor the people in their charge. They search for learning opportunities for their team members.

 

An integral piece of effective leadership is strong communication. It is about listening and considering other points of view. Better communication means that information is shared effectively and accurately, creating a stronger ability to reach your goals.

 

The best leaders are visionaries who are not afraid to get out of their comfort zones, take risks, and try new things. They are looking to see the organization (and team) develop and grow rather than maintain the status quo. These leaders accept challenges to achieve their goals and move towards their vision.

 

Good leaders are trusted by the people on their team. They never violate that trust. This trustworthiness makes them approachable. It makes people more comfortable when opening up to them. Leaders know this is a substantial contribution to the growth of the business.

 

This is all hard work and the reason why leaders sometimes feel lonely or alone. Remember, leading is a good thing. It allows you to lead your team and play a more significant part in your business’ success. You can contribute and innovate in ways that are different from your team members.

 

You may miss interacting with your team, especially when team members are working remotely. When you cannot be social with them, you may begin to feel isolated. Remember your purpose and vision. Your role as a leader is less about socializing and more about creating a positive work culture and creating a sense of belonging for the people in your charge. As you move in this direction, you will feel less isolated as you see your efforts turning into results.

 

Build a network of advisors and mentors. People willing to share ideas and opinions. The idea is to cultivate a group of trusted people you can share ideas with and give you honest feedback. This group can help you stay focused and true to your vision and purpose. 

 

When you feel lonely, embrace your curiosity. You may ask team members engaging questions to create an arena of mutual learning. It could lead to “what if” and “how might we” questions; doing this will inspire your team. But beware–when asking questions of your team, you do not want them to feel as if they are being cross-examined.

 

Finally, when meeting with team members individually, you should ask them four questions:  

  1. What is working? 
  2. What is not? 
  3. What do you need me to do to help you succeed? 
  4. What is keeping you from doing your best work right now? 

 

The answers will help you re-center on your role and purpose. You will not feel lonely and isolated for long when you remember that your people need you. 

 

So, while the journey of leadership can sometimes feel like you are on your own, it helps combat these feelings of loneliness by reframing your thoughts. You sometimes are faced with making difficult or unpopular decisions. Just remember–you are a leader for a reason. Keep in mind that you are helping your team and company. 

 

Leading does not have to be a lonely undertaking. When you look for ways to engage your team and offer support, you will feel a renewed sense of excitement and purpose–and thrive.

 

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