They say it takes a village to raise a child. I think this is true of any success as a human: it takes a community to support us in our struggles towards our goals. Yet leaders can feel incredibly alone, surrounded by people who need and expect something from them. Instead of feeling boundless, they feel bound. Bound by expectation, by obligation, and our own inner demons.
We are also caught in a cultural trap where we expect leaders to be the Hero and to have all the answers. The Strong Man myth is alive and well in national politics: Trump, Putin, Kim Jong-un. There is something so attractive about the Knight in white armour coming to save the day.
The truth is no one man, or woman, can save the day. The world is too complex, too interconnected, for one person to have all the solutions.
What we need is to lead with questions. We need to sit in ambiguity and be ok with the discomfort of not knowing if the path is the right one, and to carry on regardless.
The pressure of being the one to find all the answers is too great. 92% of work related mental disorder claims are due to work-related mental stress.
The pressure of carrying the weight of an organisation can be overwhelming.
Never lead alone.
Leaders need support outside their team, outside their organisation, to get fresh perspective, and to simply be the human without having to wear all their façades as armour.
This is why I go to Thought Leaders Business School. I lean on the expertise and insight of my peers and mentors who have similar experiences, greater success, and who care about me as a human being. I can be the best version of me, and the most vulnerable. I can share the warts and all failings of my efforts, and celebrate the achievements too.
So where can you find such a community?
- Start with hiring a coach or working with a mentor.
- Next find a place where you can be yourself. Maybe this is a sporting group, or a community group.
- For true business success, seek a community of like-minded peers where the focus is on business improvement.
- There are a number of these across industries, and I can recommend several.
Just start, reach out. You are not alone.