How to avoid being lonely at the top – more common than you might think!

I want a double helping of whatever she’s on!

This is August’s guest post by Claire Fuller a very popular coach specialising in efficiency and effectiveness; career direction and personal change. Learn more about Claire here.

Being in charge of a business, a department or even a team is a huge responsibility and one that doesn’t just happen.  There are so many roles that you have to play, that it can seem as though there is not enough time in your life for you just to be you.

It is important that you manage to keep the show on the road at all costs.  But where does this leave you personally and emotionally?  I know from my own experience and from those of my clients that more often than not it leaves you feeling time starved, exhausted and unfulfilled.

The feeling of overwhelm is likely to be similar whether what you are in charge of is large or small.  Never ending demands on your time which you do not know how to reduce.   How CAN you do things differently?

Do you ever think to yourself ‘It’s lonely at the top’?  You may be surrounded by people but you may feel that none of them are suitable for you to discuss your dilemmas with.  Your team may well think that it’s alright for you – you earn a good salary, you have a lot of perks (if you do!) they work hard for you and yet they’re perhaps not even sure what you do!

However, you know differently.

You probably regularly wish for more hours in the day as you juggle your many and varied tasks.  And it is likely that you find it hard to switch off from work even when you’re not at work.

Senior executives often:

  • Spend far too much time at work
  • Worry that they are missing out on family and home life
  • Neglect their physical health
  • Forget to eat properly so suffer from energy highs and lows from too many cups of coffee etc.
  • Feel exhausted and stressed

This in itself creates a lot of pressure both at work and at home. An unhappy boss can lead to unhappy staff and whilst no one takes any action to change anything this situation is very likely to deteriorate.  Happy, motivated staff will be far more effective than unhappy ones so making some changes is essential.

Steps to prevent loneliness at the top…

1.      Put yourself higher up the list – it is essential that you take care of yourself both physically and emotionally.  You’re probably very well aware of this as a theory but do you implement it?  You may feel that you need more time to do anything differently, however in reality you probably just need to decide to change.

2.      Decide on a (sensible) number of hours that you need to put in each week and stick to them – this will make you more effective during those hours and will enable you to have quality time out of work to recharge

3.      Have a sanctuary – go somewhere that will help you to think clearly and differently about your challenges whenever the going gets particularly tough

4.      Develop new strategies and techniques to serve you better – think laterally; ask yourself great questions and come up with some great answers

5.      No one should feel lonely at the top.  There is always someone who can provide an extra insight and supportive role and alongside this, be there to challenge you to ensure that you keep moving in the right direction.


Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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Mike Ames

Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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