Why Leadership is the Loneliest Role – and What You Can Do About It

David Swain,

There is a significant difference between being a line manager and being the CEO, and the old adage rings trues: “It’s lonely at the top.” The loneliness itself results from the isolation of the position.

This isolation may have a variety of root causes:

  • The leader may have risen through the ranks and is now in a position of supervising people who used to be peers.
  • The leader cannot share information with their direct reports because many of the decisions directly affect these people.
  • The Board of Directors looks to the leader for a recommendation or decision and is not always the best resource for the leader to debate ideas.

Are You Sure You Need Leadership Development? Team Coaching May Be The Answer (Ontario Ministry Case Study)

David Swain,

Recently, I was called in by a Deputy Minister in the Ontario Public Service and his assistant to support an organizational change initiative. It soon became apparent that what they thought they needed – traditional leadership development – was not going to be as effective as long-term team coaching. The coaching model would allow them to delve deeper into the critical dimensions of what made an effective team.

Executives of The Round Table: NASA’s Leadership Model

David Swain,

A typical leadership team resembles a pyramid. The leader is at the top, and executive team members are at the base. It’s the power structure of most organizations in miniature. That hierarchy, however, doesn’t usually work for high performing teams. A high performing team’s structure more often resembles a circle. The leader does not occupy a place of prominence anywhere on the circle; he or she acts much like a member of the team. This kind of team leadership model is used at many levels of NASA (rated #1 for leadership of all American Federal agencies in 2012), and their engineering teams often have no leader at all.

Performance Leadership: Reminding People About Their Choices

David Swain,

Oftentimes leaders have to approach team members who are not performing at the appropriate level. Perhaps the leader has implemented changes in the way the team operates, or perhaps the individual has something going on in their personal life that is affecting their work performance. Whatever the reason, if a team member’s behaviour and performance are not where they should be, the leader needs to have a considerate conversation with them. It may seem like a difficult conversation to have, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s not about disciplining that person; it’s about being supportive, and reminding them that in this situation they have choices.

Most Popular Articles

Close-Up on the 5 Stages in Team Coaching

Team coaching is quickly becoming a go-to solution for organizational teams who are looking to increase their efficiency, effectiveness, and team dynamics. While you may already know the benefits to...

Winning Influential Resisters in Times of Change

You know the influential resisters in your organization. If you don’t, you need to find out! These are important people to identify in any effort to change. These are the people who will help (or hinder) the transition...

Your Balance is Someone Else’s Nightmare

What is work-life balance? It’s sought-after, that’s for sure. A survey conducted by the Association of Executive Search Consultants found that 85 percent of job recruiters have had candidates reject offers because the work-life balance would be, well, imbalanced...