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Published on: Challenge

How to get out of the loneliness of the leader?

How to get out of loneliness when you are an international leader?

“You feel alone at the top, so you better know why you’re there.” —John C. Maxwell

It is common for leaders to feel lonely and isolated in their profession. They often have the feeling of not being able to count on anyone to support them when they are faced with important decisions, delicate situations or when they are looking for new strategies.

The distance from headquarters and intercultural differences reinforce this feeling among international leaders.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase in remote working has only increased the isolation of executives. Today, this loneliness is a more critical subject than ever (cf. Nick Jonsson).

So what to do to get out of this situation? What must you do as a leader to be able to count on the enlightened support of people you trust?

First of all, you must avoid the following 5 mistakes:

Mistake #1: Believing that at work, successful people are “alone in the crowd”

You think that sharing your questions with your collaborators, your peers or even with your line manager would be proof of weakness, incompatible with the role and responsibilities entrusted to you. You then assume the posture of a manager too focused on himself, more concerned with your image than with the development of your teams. It is probably necessary then to work on your self-confidence. Let’s not forget that vulnerability and authenticity are the skills of great leaders.

Mistake #2: Believing that no one can truly understand your situation

You believe that only people who work in the same organization, or who know your industry inside out, can provide valuable advice. And you also think that the people at headquarters cannot understand your reality on the spot. As for your collaborators, you feel that they do not have the same vision as you, that they do not know everything that is happening at your level, and that they probably do not have the necessary skills .

Mistake #3: Thinking you should prioritize work above all other personal activities

You are convinced that you have no choice, if you want to succeed, but to work crushing hours. Anything else, like building relationships with other professionals, is basically a waste of time that takes you away from your goals. But socializing is a human necessity, and by dint of keeping your head in the handlebars, you stop taking the measure of potential abuses and then risk going into the ditch.

Mistake #4: Thinking that being a leader is your reason for being

As John C. Maxwell mentioned, it is important to know why we are there. Why did you accept this responsibility? Is it to better build the career path? Is it out of taste for expatriation? Are there other deeper motivations? Becoming aware of this inner fire that led you to take this position is a step that can be essential to face the challenges of life abroad.

Mistake #5: Thinking it’s enough to chat informally with fellow leaders.

You rely on a circle of leading friends to share your concerns over coffee or an informal meal. These are people who understand you well, they experience somewhat the same problems as you, are also far from their country and confronted with the same cultural themes. Moreover, you also hang out socially, thus building a great level of trust. Unfortunately, these meetings are not as profitable as you would like. Your friends describe in detail the situations they have been through, it is not easy to interrupt them. And then we also discuss other subjects, their own problems. And in the end you come out of there with few new ideas, no concrete action, and you find yourself alone with the problem again. For this kind of meeting to work, it is important to establish precise, restrictive exchange processes, and to rely on an expert moderator who ensures that concrete results are obtained.

How to empower yourself to succeed

Track nº1: Develop your leadership style towards the Manager-Coach posture

Simon Sinek differentiates managers who work to see numbers grow from those who seek to develop people. By adopting the Manager-Coach posture, you will help your employees develop their own leadership. You will increase the efficiency as well as the involvement and commitment of your employees. Finally, you will build a real relationship of trust with them that will allow you to share a large part of your concerns with them.

Track nº2: Learn to rely on those around you by developing your team so that it is able to face 4C challenges

“Alone we go faster. Together we go further” (African proverb). It is essential that your team of collaborators is your support in all decision-making. Whether operational, functional or strategic. It is your function as a leader to ensure their development. It is important that they are able to face the 4C issues of the 21st century: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity. This approach will be faster and more effective if you are accompanied by Collective Coaching.

Track nº3: Sign up for a think tank to truly exchange with other leaders

Co-Reflection circles are privileged meeting places for the business world. Forged around confidentiality and through the dynamics of coaching, they ensure the effectiveness of meetings. By joining a Circle of Co-Reflection you benefit from the exchange and advice of a panel of leaders selected to measure to avoid conflicts of interest. It proposes concrete actions that benefit all participants.

Track nº4: Sign up for Sens Coaching sessions

Sens Coaching allows you to invest in yourself. Take a pause for reflection to broaden your self-knowledge, identify your talents, your values, find yourself with your true self. This awareness then allows you to be able to make decisions in line with your values, and then reflect on the results obtained.

Track nº5: Be accompanied by an International Executive Coach

When trying new leadership techniques to build a strong environment to support your decisions, it’s essential to have someone with experience in mastering these approaches. For this, support from an Executive Coach expert in CO-CREATiVE Communication® will be very beneficial to you. Such a coach will not only help you to make your decisions on the concrete cases that you will bring to him. But above all, it will train you to master the tools allowing you, subsequently, to make all your decisions, even the most difficult ones, with the necessary support from the people around you.

Learn more about our support

Cadran offers dedicated support to managers who want to get out of the manager’s loneliness by developing their Manager-Coach posture, their multicultural leadership and their teams of collaborators.

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International Executive and Team Coaching

Jean-François Levy, International Executive Coach cICF certified at PCC level, specializes in Collaborative Leadership. He accompanies the manager internationally "Becoming aware of your talents as a springboard for your personal and professional development..."

Franco-Mexican by birth, he has developed expertise in the organizational development of SMEs and family businesses in Mexico, where he has resided since 2000. Previously, he held executive positions in large companies in England, France and in Brazil, then as director of operations in a family-run SME.

With more than 30 years of experience in intercultural management and mastery of Co-CREATiVE Communication®, he allows leaders to express their personal leadership style while adapting it to the cultural situation of their organization.

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