SA Leadership Podcast Episode #151

Lonely At The Top


In my early years of leadership I recall being told not to get to close to people – leaders must maintain distance from your position and those who follow. I remember a discussion with an Assistant Fire Chief in a large college town being instructed to never allow yourself to get close to the other firemen. They will take advantage of you and they will loose respect for you. Loneliness is not a leadership issue. It is however, a personality issue.

Leadership is not being alone at the top of a mountain, looking down on your subjects. If leadership is that lonely at the top, it simply means that you did not invite anyone to go on the journey with you. What kind of leader would leave everyone behind and go it alone? Answer: A selfish leader! Lifting people to new levels is a requirement for effective leading.

It is hard to be effective by separating yourself form the very people you need to be around you. You are not able to feel the hurts, needs, dreams and heartaches of those you are leading. If things are not getting better for people as a result of your leadership, they may need a new leader!

People do not quit companies – they quit people!

Truths About The Top

No one ever gets to the top alone

Few leaders are successful unless a lot of people want them to be. No leader is ever successful without a few people helping them to the top. Leadership is not a game of “King Of The Mountain”, while attempting to keep others away.

Making it to the top is essential to taking others to the top

There are a lot of people in the world that are willing to give advise on things they have never experienced. They are like bad travel agents offering destinations to places they have never visited. A leaders credibility begins with personal success. It ends with helping others achieve personal success. Consider this:

Initiative: You have to get up to go up

Sacrifice: You have to give up to go up

Maturity: You have to grow up to go up

Taking people to the top is more fulfilling that arriving alone

Jim Whittaker, the first America to climb Mount Everest was asked; “What has given you the most fulfillment as a mountain climber? His answer is amazing; I have helped more people get to the top of Mount Everest than any other person. Taking people to the top who could never get there without my assistance is my greatest accomplishment.” A boss says, “GO.” A leader says, “LET’S GO!”

Much of the time leaders are not at the top

Leaders rarely remain stationary. Jules Ormont said, “A great leader never sets himself above his followers except in carrying responsibilities.” Good leaders who remain connected with their people stoop – that is the only way to reach down and pull others up. If you truly want to be a great leader never allow pettiness, jealousy, and insecurity keep you from reaching out to others

Advise To Lonely Leaders

Avoid Positional Thinking – Leadership is relational as mush as it is positional. An individual who takes a relational approach to leadership will never be lonely. Positional leaders are often lonely. Every time they use their title and permission to persuade their people, they put distance between themselves and others. Essentially what is unspoken is “I am up here, you are down there – do what I say!” This makes people feel small and does nothing but drive wedges.

Realize The Downsides of Success and Failure – Anytime you think of yourself as a success you start to separate yourself from others you view as less successful. If you see yourself as a failure, you tend to avoid others because you do not want them to see your failures. The end result is the same – Separation!

Understand That You Are In The People Business

The best leaders know that leading people requires that you love people! I have never met a successful leader who did not genuinely care for people. Bad leaders say, I love mankind! Good leaders know that people do not care about your knowledge until they know you care for them. Be careful – if you become indifferent to people, you move closer to manipulation of people!

Buy Into The Law of Significance

The Law of Significance says that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” No accomplishment of lasting value was ever made by one person working alone. Honestly, if on your own you can accomplish the vision for your life and work, then you are aiming too low!


Shepherds Advantage Leadership Podcast is now on iTunes – SUBSCRIBE

Shepherds Advantage Leadership Podcast is now on StitcherSUBSCRIBE

FREE GIFT – “The Art of Balancing Candor With Care” – Click on the icon at the bottom of the page

Executive Coaching Service– Private message me for details on this customizable service

Music: “Gratitude Mood” by David Arivett. You can learn more about his music by clicking on his name. THANKS DAVID!


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *