Who is in your tribe?
It matters, if you want to remain effective and relevant as a leader.
If remaining so is important to you, you need a tribe that provides you with the nourishment you need to flourish. This tribe should fully support you in your endeavors. And it should also challenge when you do less than your best you so that you continue to strengthen your ability to lead.
Without this kind of tribe, leaders feel isolated and alone. They buy in to the false adage that “it’s lonely at the top.”
That stoicism will damage a leader’s ability to lead.
If this is you – if you are suffering from executive isolation – it is time to form your tribe.
Can you identify with any of the following?
- 60% of all leaders quietly admit they didn’t feel fully prepared for their new role, and that it was necessary to hide this in order to build credibility with others. They reported feeling lonely and unsure because of a lack of support. If this is you, remember to differentiate between your ability to lead and the fact that there is a learning curve to any new role
- Leaders must make tough decisions that others might not understand, so they do not feel free to share these or discuss them with others. They have nowhere they can take this to brainstorm and come up with creative solutions. If this is you, you are compromising your decision-making abilities and leadership effectiveness.
- Leaders must hold a lot of confidential and/or sensitive information. This is stressful and burdensome, promoting a feeling of isolation. If this is you, the cost of this kind of stress can be far-reaching and hamper your ability to perform.
- No leader has all the answers, but they seldom share this fact because they want their employees to have confidence in them and in the direction the company is headed. This is you, if you feel the need to keep significant thoughts and feelings to yourself.
Executive isolation – the dynamic that arises from the situations described above – is insidiously damaging to one’s leadership effectiveness.
A personal tribe for the leader is the solution.
Being part of a tribe where you can take your fears, doubts, and foibles, seems foreign to the person in power. How does that work for the person at the top? And what does it look like?
Here are the needed ingredients for a leader’s tribe (or for any tribe, for that matter!):
A leader’s tribe must provide nourishment in the form of healthy ways of relating, healthy connections, and deep and genuine bonds. Human connection is necessary to sustain life, and healthy human connection is necessary to support your highest and best.
Respect for your situation and your stories is paramount. Feeling as though you can trust your tribe with all your “stuff” allows you to fully divulge what you need to without fear of compromise.
Bringing deepest thoughts, fears, doubts, and aspirations can feel risky – yet every human being, no matter how accomplished, has them. Your vulnerability should be met by your tribe with genuine support so that you feel acknowledged, accepted, and able to confront where needed.
Your tribe should love you where you are, and yet love you too much to allow you to stagnate there. You need to be challenged to grow, to smoothen rough edges, and to be called out when you are playing small. Frank feedback with love and respect is invaluable to your ability as leader to flourish and move successfully into the future.
Your tribe should have your best interests in mind by holding you to your commitments. This is how true and lasting growth can best occur. If you do not have a source that provides this for you, the potential in you will go sadly untapped.
Leaders feel lonely and assume this is par for the course. Yet the right social connection with trusted tribe makes all the difference in how you can evoke continuous and honest growth in your ability to lead.
Who is in your tribe?
DO OTHERS REALLY TRUST YOU?
Learn the two vital parts to trust and how they can help you become a more highly effective leader.
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Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.