Ladder to Loneliness?

“There’s a lot of loneliness in high-level positions because at the end of the day, the buck stops with you,” said Joni Fernandez Marmo. Huh, that’s a new way to look at it. Many of us stand in awe of those at the top, unsure how we will ever get there, looking at executive positions as some kind of royalty. Sure, people are people, but the position is what awes us.

 In her presentation “Becoming a Master Leader” at the “Digital Branding Analytics Miami 2019 Conference,” Ms. Marmo provided a new angle. Maybe those at the top don’t have it all. A lot of responsibility, yes. But with that responsibility has likely come great sacrifice. Ms. Marmo speaks of the need for “compassion and empathy” for those in high-level positions. Personally, I never pondered the possibility that executives could be lonely, of all things. But perhaps it’s true. The late nights, the decisions weighing heavily on one’s mind with so much that falls into a gray area in our world. Imagine being on a rooftop of a burning building alone and needing to decide—by yourself—how to get down. Scary decision, right?

It’s easy to get angry at superiors, to feel neglected or upset when one’s superior is constantly on-the-run and cannot provide the attention requested at all times. We need to remember that the executive goes home at night just like everyone else, grabs a bite to eat and puts on PJs. There is no magical divinity associated with high-level positions. The more we remember this, the easier the lives of middle managers and staff professionals become. We soften and our expectations relax a bit. We’re a bit more forgiving and as a result, happier and more productive.