Leader Case Study – Bio

“I hate going to networking events! I feel as if everyone is trying to get something from me. Yet, I am regularly told how important networking is. How do I get better?”

Three considerations.

  1. Warm comfortable rather than cold uncomfortable connections
  2. Learn don’t teach
  3. Give don’t take.

Let’s go through these three considerations and see if they change your mindset towards networking and make you more effective.

As you go through this analysis, put in your mind, how you network now and the purpose of your networking. Are you trying to expand your professional reach, work on a promotion, or change positions? Define the purpose of your networking.

Warm and Comfortable Rather than Cold and Uncomfortable

Now that you defined why you are networking. Determine the types of environments and settings comfortable for you? Where is the event, who is there, and how big? They all make a difference. Think of a spectrum from left to right with the left being comfortable.

If you look at the participants, comfort typically starts with family, friends, and as you move to the right brings in professional peers, professionals in the same field, moving to participants you have less in common with. Use this information to decide the type of crowd that works for you. Then think size followed by maybe the venue.

Next, where do you find these groups? Think about alumni, professional, industry, or other interest groups. As an executive coach human resource groups such as the Society for Human Resource Managers work well for me. They understand the profession and have coaching requirements. With an engineering and military background, I am also comfortable with technical and veteran groups.

What feels good to you?

Learn Don’t Teach

Ever experienced that individual at a networking event who assertively introduces himself? “Hey Gary, how are you? I’m Bob a local real estate broker, in the residential and commercial market. I can serve all your real estate needs. Just so you know, I have been the top real estate sales broker in the metro area 4 of the last 5 years. Here is my card. Call if you have any real estate needs.”

Then off they go and you are thinking: what in the world was that?

Bob was focused on teaching you about him. Would providing a chance for you to learn from Bob, been more effective?

Are you a Bob? Sometimes we all have a little bit of Bob in us. We are at this networking event to let people know what we do and how good we are. It’s natural. The problem, it doesn’t work.

Flip the script. If you meet Bob, rather than giving him your elevator pitch, start with learning about him.

“Hey Bob, I see you’re in real estate. Tell me about your practice”

“I do residential and commercial in the 5-county area. On the commercial side I focus on industrial properties in the 100,000 to 200,00 square foot range.”

This gives you the opportunity to learn and make a connection. At some point the conversation will turn back to you. “What do you do?” If the conversation does not, that is also an indication.

“I am executive coach, who assists c-suite executives maximize their leadership potential.”

Rather than an exchange of elevator pitches, we have an exchange of thoughts and genuine interest. It is the opportunity to start building a relationship. Which leads to the next element; Give, don’t take.

Give Don’t Take

The more you learn about an individual, the greater the likelihood you may be able to assist them.

“Bob that is interesting, I have a colleague in the manufacturing space looking for a larger building with a loading dock. I will put him in contact with you.”

I always have the mindset of how I might be able to assist the individuals I meet. This may take some time before you offer access to your network.

Closing Thoughts

Put yourself in an environment that is comfortable to start the snowball rolling.

Be a consistent participant in events that are a good fit. One-time networking events rarely produce fabulous results. Being a regular allows mutually beneficial trusting relationships to grow.

Networking is an important skill to develop. If you want something out of your network, consider the investment you put into it.

“She was such a great sales person; I cannot believe how poorly she performed as the sales team leader.”

“Bob was super leading the engineering department at our site. However, after we moved him to site manager, he was a total disaster. He never adapted to handling areas out of his expertise.”

Ever witness situations similar to the above? They were probably the result of a poor leadership development and selection process. These leaders were not trained or selected for their leadership capabilities required at the next level.

How deliberate is your organization about developing leaders?

What would be the impact if the leadership levels and selection requirements are well defined?

Jack Welch as the CEO of General Electric (GE) famously created an executive leadership development program that survives today. GE was known for having excellent leaders and became a source of leaders for other companies.

Here are some considerations to build a leadership development program for your organization.  It ensures each level is well defined and individuals are on a development track. Creating a bench of potential leaders ready to move into the next position. The challenge has existed for years as documented in the 2001 article Building Leaders at Every Level: A Leadership Pipeline.

Let’s start by identifying the 6 levels of transitions identified by the authors. Of course, the number of levels is dependent on the size and complexity of the organization. Compare the transitions to your organization, name them, and identify the transition.

  1. Line worker to Team leader: transitions from working on the line to leading a team of line workers. Often promoted because of their capability as a line worker.
  2. Team Leader to Leader of Team Leaders: Transitions from leading a team of line workers to leading the team leaders. Success is now defined by the success of the teams.
  3. Leader of Team Leaders to Functional Leader: Moves from leading several team leaders to leading a function of the organization such as software, human resources, marketing, or sales.
  4. Functional Leader to Business Leader: Leads multiple functions. Typically, this is the level of a business owner. Owners are at the top overseeing all the functions of a business.
  5. Business Leader to Region or Area Leader: Leading multiple businesses in sector or geographic area. This is the realm of high-level leaders in large global organizations.
  6. Area Leader to Enterprise leader: Think large organizational CEO’s

Congratulations. If you took the time to identify how your organization fits this model you are on your way to creating a development plan. This is the first step to ensure leaders will be prepared for the next level. As you look at these transitions consider the following questions:

  • What does success look like at each level?
  • What competencies and capabilities are required to succeed at each level?
  • How are we developing those competencies and capabilities?
  • How does selection processes evaluate the competencies and capabilities for the next level?

Next, we will look at each level and consider the growth required to transition to the next level and the challenges often encountered.

In 1886 sixteen Major League Baseball teams travelled to Florida for the first Spring Training. They used the month of preseason workouts and exhibition games to prepare for the upcoming season. That has certainly grown into the ritual for Major League Baseball.

How could your organization benefit from some Spring Training? I am not talking about traveling to Florida. How about taking the concept for Spring Training and applying it to the organization you lead?

How does Spring Training relate to the business world? I think it resonates in three areas:

1. Onboarding, launching, or relaunching a team

2. Focusing on the fundamentals of your game

3. Evaluation and choosing your team members to start the season

Onboarding, Launching, or Relaunching a Team

Bringing the entire team together to launch a new project or at a “change of season” can have significant value. Ever been part of an ongoing team that continually moved from one project or season to the next without pausing? That leaves newcomers to assimilate on their own and absorb the team purpose, objectives, and goals. Newcomers are unsure of themselves while veterans keep moving along the established path. Taking time to regularly recalibrate the key objectives has a uniting effect.

The minimum requirements in my opinion are to:

– Set the team purpose; why does this team exist?

– Set expectations; define success.

– Establish team norms; how the team is to work together.

Work on the Fundamentals

Everyone arrives at Spring Training with an expected level of expertise, so what does it mean to work on the fundamentals? The fundamentals are how this team is to operate, putting all the elements from Onboarding/Launch into practice. This is how “we” do it. The goal is to ensure everyone understands how this particular team executes the fundamentals. This puts everyone on the same page and reduces the friction of daily operations. The fundamentals of execution, culture, and norms become second nature.

Everyone gets the opportunity to show what they are capable of in game situations. Test the fundamentals, test the culture fit, and assess how each individual contributes to the overall purpose and objectives.

Evaluate and Choose Your Team Members

This is the ultimate purpose of Spring Training. You are choosing a team to accomplish a specific purpose. Be deliberate on the size of the team, the skills required, and the composition of the members. Chose at the start of the season does not mean the member is there for life. A decision an individual is not ready allows you to develop that individual’s specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for a later time. The team may require changes during its journey. Spring Training provides insight and preparation for members required to join later.

The concept of “Spring Training” in every setting allows teams to be deliberate about setting themselves up for success. How can you incorporate it for the teams you lead?

In your position as a leader what was the best decision, you made this year and what was your worst?  Write them down.

Now write down the reason it was the best or the worst.

What criteria did you use to measure the quality of the decisions? My guess is you used the result. Most folks do. Is that truly the best measure of your decision quality?

How good are you at predicting the future? Isn’t that what we try to do with decisions? We are predicting an outcome.

  • Who should you hire?
  • Should you invest in a particular market?
  • Is it time to pivot your strategy?
  • What supplier to choose?

These are typical decisions made by leaders. All attempt to create a specific outcome in the future. If you did all you could to research, evaluate, and gain input and the result was not what you expected, was that a bad decision?

Annie Duke a former professional poker player and author on making decisions, believes there are best practices for decision making. She also believes the quality of a decision should be judged on the process not the outcome. Why, because we cannot predict the future and luck plays a factor in almost all decisions. We can however, reduce some of the uncertainty.

Let’s look the four factors I believe leaders should consider making better decisions.

  • Narrow the uncertainty
  • Make your assumptions known
  • Get independent input without creating bias
  • Have a strategy to change paths when new information becomes available

Let’s examine an example. We’ll use a decision for a new hire by a hiring committee.

Narrow the Uncertainty

Do all you can to take away the unknowns and define the desired end state. In hiring, that may look like; setting a clear position description, hiring criteria, and defining the hiring process..

Make Your Assumptions Known

Let people know what you are thinking. The hiring committee needs to know your assumptions such as: “I believe we should be able to hire someone for this position, in this salary range, with this level of expertise, and complete the process in 60 day.” This allows challenges to your assumptions by team members and they understand your position.

Get Independent Input Without Bias

Allow members of the hiring committee to commit to a decision and share their reason prior to debating the selection. This reduces groupthink and the most influential person in the room biasing the group. When the boss says, “I think candidate number 3 is our best option”, a large portion of the group’s independence just flew out the window.

Have a Strategy to Change Paths If New Information Becomes Available

Some would call this having a pivot strategy, based on specific criteria. In hiring it may be hiring the individual on a probationary period, to assess the candidate. You will have accurate and specific data to support your original decision or provide the criteria to pivot.

Go back to your choices of the best and worse decisions from last year and test them against the four elements. Was your best decision really a best decision or just a positive result of a poor decision process?

What is your process for making and evaluating decisions?

“That was the most emotional decision I ever had to make.”

“I was so caught up in the emotion of the moment I had trouble thinking clearly.”

“I was so angry when she said that to me I just reacted.”

“Whenever I have to make an important decision, I make sure I am in a positive state of mind.”


Emotions play an important role in our decisions. We all made decisions in the “heat of the moment” that would have been different had the emotions not been running so high. A lack of emotion can be just as troublesome, because you are not engaged. Pick a situation in the recent past where emotions drove a decision. Hold that event in your head as you continue to read.


If you are a leader, your life revolves around decisions that swirl with emotion. Everyone is trying to get you to make the decision that will support their position. Those decisions are tied to a lot of emotion, for you or those your decision affects.


Consider these two principles as top priorities regarding emotions impacting decisions:

  • Know yourself
  • Seek to understand


In a sentence, be self- aware, other-aware, and situationally aware. If you are aware that emotions are having an influence on your behavior you are on the right path. It will allow you to make them part of the solution.


Principle 1: Know Yourself

What triggers emotions in you? How much does your mood change based on events, both positive and negative? Is there a behavior or occurrence of an event that totally hijacks your consciousness?


We all experienced an individual who flies off the handle with the delivery of bad news. How about the giddy coworker who cannot refocus after a positive event? Ever had the pleasure of working with the colleague who cannot decide because they are so overwhelmed? Emotions are driving decisions.


Identify the type of events that affect you, set you off or cause you to isolate yourself. That is the trigger. You know what it is because it gives you that jolt of adrenalin, changes your heart rate, and narrows your thinking. You are in a thinking tunnel.


Next, assess your reaction and how you perform once triggered. There is a spectrum of being triggered. Think about being triggered on the angry scale. That can go from being mildly annoyed to being table flipping mad. Sadness, joy, or being stressed all have a spectrum.


Principle 2: Seek to Understand.

Seek to understand what? Consider the adrenalin jolt, take a moment before acting and seek to:


-Understand the cause of the jolt.

What is driving your emotions?

-Understand the reality of the situation.

Was there a valid cause for the jolt?

How is it affecting you?

-Understand the emotions of others.

What are others feeling and why?

-Understand how to positively use emotions in the situation.

How can you use emotions, yours and others, to positively impact the situation?



Use the personal event you recollected at the start of this exercise to evaluate the two principles.

How would your actions have changed if you had known your triggers? Knowing your triggers allows you to plan for those type events.

How would your actions have changed if you sought to understand?

Pausing for a moment when triggered and asking a few simple questions can defuse a tense situation and allow for reasonable effective decisions. It pushes your mind into a problem-solving mode rather than the emotional react mode.

Consider using the two principles to examine several decisions you made while emotionally triggered. Determine if they would have created a different decision or a decision making process.

Who made that decision? That is the most ridiculous approach to solving that problem I have ever seen!”

“I don’t agree however, I understand where she is coming from.”

“Not the way I would have done it.”

“I would have made the same decision.”

Do any of the above quotes sound familiar. To me they do and they all center around decision making, one of the top functions of every leader. If it is a top function, should it have some degree of process to it?

What is your decision-making process? Can you write three factors you consider on every decision. I think it’s worth spending some time thinking about what should be considered.

Whatever your process, I believe the following three considerations should be deliberately assessed in every decision.

  1. Emotion
  2. Bias
  3. Logic

These three elements rise to the top because they are part of every decision consciously or subconsciously. Let’s talk about how.

Emotion: everyone reacts with a degree of emotion when decisions impact their values. Those decisions that align with one’s values, make them happy, those not aligned bring out negative emotions.

Bias: we all have them based on our personal experiences and they influence our thinking. Being alert and sensitive to others and our own biases can serve leaders well.

Logic: is the reasoning process used to assess information, data, and other factors to make a decision. Being cognizant of our own as well as others processes will also serve leaders well.


Let’s look at a couple of examples and see how the three elements, emotion, bias, and logic impact a decision. First recall a decision you have recently made or been part of. Keep the decision in your head as we assess two examples.

The Family Holiday Decision

Where and how to celebrate the holidays this year? With COVID-19 impacting every facet of life what decision did you make on holiday plans. If traditions in your circle include large family gatherings, there may have been discussions on how to proceed this year. It is likely the participants had a wide range of input and some with emotions. The emotional input came from those passionate about what they believe is the right thing to do.  Maintaining tradition, don’t risk spreading the virus, other options, etc.

Some have bias for doing all they can to be together and taking maximum precautions. Others are risk adverse. No way are they traveling even if everyone is following the CDC guidance.

Logically each member has come to their conclusion based on their process of data collection, assessment, and reasoned thought. Do you know what the process was?

Going Back to Work in the Office

Similar to the Holiday decision. The emotions will come from alignment or misalignment with one’s values. Some folks have a bias for operating together. Others prefer remote work. Yet others have bias for trusting or mistrusting the government guidance on protocols to return to an in-person workplace. The amount of research and data sources all provide the logic that informed and produced an individual’s decision.

Your Example

In the example you recalled at the beginning of this exercise, how did emotion, bias, and logic play into your decision?

 So What?

The elements of emotion, bias, and logic impact how leaders make decisions and the reaction to their decisions.Effective leaders make a positive impact.

 As a leader, if you ignore to consider the three elements within you and those you impact, you may limit your positive impact.


Using the example at the beginning of this exercise, in your mind place yourself in a room with those affected by your decision. What if you leaned back and considered the following?

  • How are my emotions, biases, and logic affecting my decision?
  • How are the emotions, biases, and logic of each person in this room affecting their decision?

Might this change your approach to the decision you are about to make? For me, it may or may not change my decision. It does add to my analysis, broadens my perspective and most importantly, it adds to how I present my decision. This creates clarity for me and those I lead.

What does that title really mean? It sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? Let’s just do it.

The First Reflection: It’s your 95th birthday and you are surrounded by those most important to you. Can you see them? As part of this celebration, there will be six or seven people who talk about you. It starts with the youngest generation of your family, a great-grandchild. The next generation (grandchildren), and then your children. Your best friend has time, a coworker who spent years with you, a sibling, and finally your significant other.

  • What material have you given them to talk about you?
  • What impact have you made on their lives?
  • What was it like to be part of your inner circle?

If you took this seriously and did the exercise you created quite a vision. This is a significant destination. How are you feeling after this event? What is your legacy?

That is what reflecting on a future event looks like. Let’s continue and build the path to your 95th birthday by looking at two more events.

The Second Reflection: It is your retirement from the workforce. It is a celebration of your transition, your last day.  You are leaving a company, a nonprofit, maybe selling or closing the doors of your business. At this gathering, a number of folks will talk about what it was like to be closely associated with you. Three categories of individuals will talk, those you worked for or were mentors to you, your peers, and those that you led. What will they say?

  • What material have you given them to talk about you?
  • What impact have you made on their lives?
  • What was it like to be part of your inner circle?

The Final Reflection: This is your next transition. What will this next transition be; a promotion, career change, a move to a new city, getting married, having a child? You choose the event that makes the most sense. Thinking about this by itself can be enlightening, maybe you are not quite sure what the next event is. In this transition, three groups of people are going to come and talk to you. One will be someone you look up to, maybe a mentor. The second will be a peer, and the third is someone who looks up to you and your mentor. What do you want them to say to you?

  • What material have you given them to talk about you?
  • What impact have you made on their lives?
  • What was it like to be part of your inner circle?

You have just set a long-term vision with three definitive milestones. At each milestone, you are evaluating yourself from multiple perspectives, including your own. This sounds a bit like what Scrooge experienced in A Christmas Carol. You are creating a preview of future events to build the path to get you there.

Want to learn more about what vision is, check out a short video sharing more details.

Bobby feels his performance is worthy of promotion after two years in his job. Today he had a conversation with his boss during his semi-annual review and brought up the topic. His boss’s response was that he has not shown the leadership expected of one ready to be promoted.

His first thought was; Leadership, I am buried in the organization, how in the world am I supposed to show leadership? So, he asked, “what should I be doing?”. The answer was not very encouraging. She told him to do the things that leaders do and be visible.

Understandably, he left her office frustrated. His thoughts: I need more specific guidance. I don’t know what she is talking about and by the way, whatever I do will not work since I am not in charge.

It is not uncommon for me to hear such stories from clients looking to progress in their careers. The question they want to be answered is: How can I lead when I am not in charge? To that I have them address two essential questions:

  1. How am I leading myself?
  2. How am I seen as a leader today?

Leaders must be comfortable with leading themselves before becoming comfortable leading others. In reality, every leader has to answer to someone. How did they get to their position? They probably demonstrated some leadership acumen prior to promotion.

Let’s transition from Bobby to you. I propose starting by writing your definition of leadership. After all, that is what you are after isn’t it? Here is mine:

“The art of positively influencing others to unite and achieve common goals”

Here is an assessment of my definition. First, leadership is an art, not a science, everyone does it differently, using their own techniques and methods. Second, it is about influencing others. Leadership is not about standing in front and giving directions; it is about being a positive influence. Lastly, it’s uniting others to accomplish a common objective. To me the most important elements of this definition are that leadership is about influence and accomplishment, not position and accomplishment. That means anyone at any level can be a leader.

What is your definition of leadership?


What are its key elements?


Congratulations. You just created a vision for your leadership. My assumption is your definition said more about motivating, inspiring, and shaping others than about your position or authority level.

Now, assess yourself to determine a realistic view of you, the leader. What are your skills, tendencies, likes/dislikes, and strengths? Measure yourself against your definition. On a scale of 1-10 grade yourself on leading yourself.

Next, how well do you meet your definition with others? How do we determine that? We ask what is it like to be on the receiving end of your leadership. We ensure you address how well you lead yourself. For me, I ask how well I influence, unite, and achieve results when leading others. Because they are the key elements of my definition. What do you need to ask?

That is the starting point. Step two, build a leadership development plan. It includes goal setting, specific skills to develop, reading to complete, and most importantly actions to take, assess, and be accountable to.

So, how do you lead when you are not in charge?

You develop your ability to influence others and use it to be a positive force to accomplish common goals as a team.

If you lead yourself well and develop your ability to influence others, you will be on the path to being a leader regardless of your level, line worker to CEO. People may listen to authority – leaders of position however, they follow leaders who are a positive influence – leaders of voice.

Be a leader of voice – a person who influences, motivates, and inspires others.

Let’s fast forward to Bobby’s conversation with his boss in six months, it may go something like this. Over the past six months we agreed what my leadership development should look like and here are the results. My definition of leadership is this: ____________. I received feedback from every team member and worked to specifically contribute to my team in this manner: __________. The results have been ___________ and you have given me additional responsibilities. I am ready to move to the next level and continue my growth.

What can you do to create a conversation like this in your future?

Story: Melinda has hardly slept, it is 4:00 am and her heart is pounding. This has been happening more often and she does not know what to do.


As a midlevel manager for the past 3 years for Global Inc, a manufacturing company, Melinda has the respect of everyone she works with and has the reputation as a hard worker. She has been with the company for 17 years, rising through the ranks. She feels under undue pressure by her boss because she had some recent family issues and is asking for some consideration for flex time and the ability to work from home part time.


What’s going on? Her mom in her mid-seventies moved in with her due to health concerns six months ago. Melinda is becoming her mom’s primary care giver as she goes through chemo. Her children age 9, 11, and 14 have created the normal demands of children that age, with a myriad of activities. Her husband is an EMT with a rotating schedule of 4 days on and 3 days off. The off days are very helpful but, the 24 hours on for 4 days put the entire load on her.


Her boss is not giving her any leeway, is increasing her hours to cover portions of two shifts, and tells her the considerations requested are outside of company policies. She feels after all the time at this company she is not being treated as “it” not as an individual.


What you think is causing her to lose sleep and have a racing heart at 4:00 am? Stress! What are the primary sources?  Let’s list a few:

  • Primary care giver of an aging parent
  • Lack of empathy from supervisor
  • Work/life balance – kids, spouse’s hours, increased demands of the job
  • Inflexible work schedule
  • Increased hours


Her work coupled with her home life is having a negative impact on Melinda’s health. Uncommon? I don’t think so. Create a short list of your current stressors. How many of them of them are a result of work? Here is a better question: How many of your factors can be positively affected by your leaders at work?


Let’s be clear. Stress can be positive, particularly in short doses to motivate us and help us perform well. However, chronic stress has prolonged negative effects on the performance and health of employees. Studies over the years have clearly shown, leaders in the workplace have a significant impact on workers and their health. Here is some data:


From 1999 study by the National Institute of Safety and Health:

  • 40% of all workers see their jobs as very or extremely stressful
  • 75% of working adults believe there is more stress at work than a generation ago


From a 2016 Survey  by the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health



  • Almost 50% of all working adults give their workplace only fair or poor ratings in its efforts to reduce their stress
  • A majority of workers in low-paying jobs, dangerous jobs, disabled workers, workers in medical and restaurant jobs, and people who work 50 or more hours per week say their job has a bad impact on their stress level
  • 43% of workers think that work has a negative impact on their stress level
  • 28% of workers think that work has a negative impact on their eating habits
  • 27% of respondents think that work has a negative impact on their sleeping habits


A recent study titled The Relationship Between Workplace Stressors and the Mortality and Health Costs in the United States categorizes ten workplace stressors that affect employee health:

  • Layoffs and unemployment
  • Lack of health insurance
  • Shift work
  • Long working hours
  • Job insecurity
  • Work-family conflict
  • Low job control
  • High job demands
  • Low social support at work
  • Low organizational justice

If you believe the premise that stress contributes to poor health. The workplace is making people sick. Who is the “workplace”? The “workplace” can be defined as the policy, procedures, and other tools that make up managerial practices. If you are a leader the “workplace” is you.


When you think about Melinda and her situation, how many of those ten items can you check off that are affecting her? When you reflect on your situation how many can you check off?


Change your perspective and mentally put yourself in the seat of those that you lead. How many of those items do you think they would check off?


You have the ability to mitigate or reduce the stressors on your team. No matter the situation you can have a positive effect on “Low Social Support at Work”. If any of your workers/teammates/subordinates are stressed because they feel they are unsupported by the boss. You are the cause of that stressor.


Take inventory of your team and build a survey to see how you are doing. You are the only one who does not know the answer. If want to be effective you need real feedback you can act on.

“All the lonely people where do they all come from?” Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” 1966


Are you feeling lonely in a crowd or when you are around others? How can that be? Join me in recollecting the loneliest you have ever been as an adult?


I was on a military deployment, living in a crowded military tent/trailer city going through an incredible challenge. Not only was I lonely but, I could not get away from anyone. Sound strange? It shouldn’t, there are a lot of lonely people in New York City.


What was the impact on you?


If it was anything like mine, it was draining. Being lonely sapped my energy. Did anyone know? I don’t think so. Why, because just like you, I covered it up. I put on a face, façade, mask or whatever you want to call it and pushed it away. I worked long hours, worked out, and went running.


Like most folks I hid it and didn’t talk about it. I powered my way through it until I came out at the other end. Was that the best way to handle it. In retrospect – absolutely not.


What was the cause of the loneliness?  That may be the essential question. What was the cause of your loneliness?


For me it was not physical, but emotional isolation that I believe was the cause. I reasoned no one understood or could understand what I was going through. As a leader, I was completely reluctant to admit or share what I was experiencing. I did not have someone I trusted enough to share my thoughts.


Any parallels with your experience?


There is a very high probability, if you are a leader, you or some of those you lead are currently experiencing loneliness – caused by emotional isolation. Indicators range widely from none at all to being less or even more productive.


What to do? Ask and Listen – to yourself and those you lead.


Reach out and have one-on-one sessions. Do you know how the current situation has truly affected those you lead? Have you listened to and understand the challenges of each direct report? Do they trust you enough to say something?


For yourself – Are you taking care of yourself? Do you have someone you trust enough to talk to?


Leadership is a bond of trust. Reach out, connect, and understand what you and your team members need. No one should be lonely in this connected world.