I recently read a research article that said:
“80% of people in leadership positions did not have 4 people in their lives they could confide in.“
That’s a significant statistic. 8 out of every 10 people in leadership positions have limited support systems at a time in their lives when they’re likely needed most.
Unfortunately, we still live in a chronically individualist culture that promotes individualism over community (especially for men). Think; The Marlborough Man. Leaders & High-Achievers– we need quality relationships in our lives and we need them badly. Good friends. Life-giving friends that can help us feel connected to one another and less alone during the very difficult season of life of leadership. We have to work hard to challenge the conventional wisdom that promotes a myth that says ”I can handle this on my own”. Here a few important reasons why every person in a leadership role need good friends more than ever.
There is something magical about being able to confide in one another about our innermost thoughts and feelings. There is a saying in psychology, “we’re only as sick as our secrets”. This is the power of having a confidant in a great friend.
It’s a basic human tendency to believe that we’re the “only ones” who are experiencing certain hardships in life. It’s the same for people at the top in leadership roles. It’s hard to imagine that other leaders experience similar hardships too, but when we come to realize we’re not the “only ones”, there seems to be a 1,000 lb. weight lifted off our shoulder.
Engage in business and personal relationships with those who will celebrate with you in good times and encourage you through the challenges.
3. Supportive Emotional Diversity:
Too many people in leadership roles (both men and women) have a tendency to put all of their emotional eggs in their spouse’s basket. Your spouse cannot be your “everything” – despite what Hollywood wants you to believe. This is a sure set-up for marital failure and having enough quality relationships will take some of this pressure off your spouse.
High-achievers and people in leadership roles need friends to show them the way though the storm sometimes. Leaders, often living under a significant amount of stress, need friends that serve as mentors, advisors – ones that are trust and can go to for practical advice and suggestion. Leaders need these types of relationships to keep them on track and on a healthy path because we all have a tendency to veer from time to time.
And lastly, high-performers and high-achieving leaders need friends to normalize the craziness of their experience. Being a leader is filled with all sorts of doubts, confusion, and twists and turns. Leaders need genuine, quality relationships along the way to help them realize that what is happening to them is very normal. It often brings about a good laugh.
So, are you one of the 8 out of 10 leaders walking around that doesn’t have 4 people to confide in? If so, what is keeping you from finding these relationships? For many leaders, the isolation can feel normal and the idea of having quality relationships to function in roles as the 5 listed above is foreign and can feel incomprehensible as to how to do that. If this is you, consider finding a trusted therapist to help you develop the skills and tools to find those good friends that you need.
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