I ask with care for you and your organisation please don’t be lonely at the top!

There are so many deep conundrums, so many challenges without precedent, currently on the agenda of leaders and leadership teams.  It is tough being a leader in the 2020s.

I ask with care for you and your organisation please don’t be lonely at the top.

A major benefit of sharing and teaching Traction: the 4 practices of change-fit leadership teams is providing ideas and methods leaders and teams can use for self-diagnostics.  Particularly the EXPOSE practice of seeing gaps from where we want to be.  Exposing narratives and ‘myths’ that no longer serve us.


One of those that feels acutely relevant in these times is accepting the famous phrase “it’s lonely at the top” as just a burden of the ‘big roles’, part of the job, something we need to live with.

Rather than the Red Flag, it is for our personal health, leadership effectiveness, and ultimately organisational performance.

Surveys have previously indicated over half of senior leaders experience loneliness or isolation.

It is a particular risk when new to the role or particularly challenging times.

The risks to finding yourself lonely or isolated at the top are significant and include:

  • Poor decision making
  • Weak problem solving
  • Dysfunctional teams
  • Frustration (all around – you, team, stakeholders)
  • Taking your stresses home

These risks could be devastating to you personally, your career and organisational survival in a period of accelerating change.  This was summed up in a recent McKinsey article about the heightened risk of these times.

McKinsey says COVID-19 has caused the Great Amplification, where the factors were previously just starting to separate the best businesses from the laggards – great technology, asset-lite business models, a global outlook, a systemised approach to dealmaking – have become even more powerful.

The emphasis to clients is the need for speed and flexibility. They like to use the analogy of two people running away from a bear – a 10 per cent health difference can quickly become a 100 per cent difference.


“If you are all alone as a leader are you really leading?”

  • John C Maxwell (leadership author)


Losing touch with your people is unfortunately easy to do, particularly in times when we are ourselves challenged and stretched.  When we are feeling unsure, or ‘not the best version of ourselves’.

Through a focus on traction of strategic imperatives through multiple transitions a focus on the critical practices of EXPOSE, EXPLORE, EXPAND, EXERT become evident.  This is most effective as a team game.


“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships”

  • Michael Jordan


The 4 practices of change-fit leadership teams are an antidote to leadership loneliness and isolation through the development of:

  • Self-awareness
  • Curiosity
  • Perspectives
  • Self-accountability

4 practices of change-fit leadership teams

Please don’t be lonely at the top.  Get in with your team.  Reach out for a sounding board.  Continue to adapt and thrive.

What has been your experience?



If you are curious to read further following are links you may find useful: