|It’s lonely at the top. This is a phrase that has been said for |
generations. What does it really mean? It could mean that it’s lonely at the top because few ever get there. Only the cream rises to the top, only the winners see the highest peak. Those that keep on climbing and persevere through the obstacles are few and when they get to the top there is but a few like them that made it. These are probably all true.
There is another meaning for this saying. When you are the leader and especially the sole leader of an organization or business it’s lonely. This can be even more true if you are a sole proprietor and only lead yourself.
Leaders Give Encouragement
The job of a leader is to set a tone and cast a vision for your team. Part of this responsibility is to be the Chief Encouragement Officer. You must be there to help your people through rough times. You must be there to pick them up when they fall and let them lean on you when they need help. It’s your job to be the voice of reason and hope when they need one. I’m not saying you have the responsibility for their happiness or their lives. You have a responsibility of being a megaphone of encouragement for them. What they do with it, is up them. Your team should be able to come to you for help and leave knowing you care.
Leaders Need Encouragement
So what happens when the leader is the one who needs help. Encouragement flows from the top down in many places. People are so worried about their own lives and own problems that have them looking down they rarely look up to notice who may need help above them. Who’s to blame them. Most people have a hard enough time caring for themselves why should they take on another’s burdens. Leaders do this knowingly. Those who aren’t called to lead may not realize this. They may think, “well that guy has it all together, he has it easy. I want him to help me, he doesn’t need my help.” I walked into my office recently and the temp was sixty-one degrees which in South Texas is chilly. I clicked on the heat and sat at my desk in a jacket bearing with the temperature. The heater kicked on and the office began to warm up and by the time the first agent walked in the office the temp was already seventy degrees. The office felt good and had pleasant feel to it. I began to think that this serves as an interesting metaphor for most businesses and organizations that grow. Many people that work for a company or an organization get to join when the temp has risen. They are not there to see the coldness that their leaders sat through. Your office may feel warm and good, but you may not realize the arctic blasts your boss and owners are enduring as they strive to the next level.
Your leaders need encouragement. They need to know you believe in them. They need to know you are on board with their vision. I know there are times in organizations I’m a part of where the leader is going a direction I don’t fully understand, but I will let them know I support them because of their history. It’s important that when you trust someone and have good reason to trust them that you let them know especially in moments where they are making big decisions.
Nothing means more than when someone lets you know they got your back.
Encouragers need encouragement. If you are a leader and are down or questioning yourself you are not alone. We all go through it. The events that started this year made me start questioning myself and the vision I have. Luckily I have an amazing wife who gives me her support and believes in me. There are also people on my team that let me know they are on board. The truth is that leaders will give out far more encouragement than they receive. They have more people to look after than they have looking after them.
When things are tough be careful where you seek encouragement. You probably only have a handful of people in your world that you can truly be open and honest with about what you’re dealing with. Not everyone in your organization needs to know the details of your struggles. You have to remain steadfast and strong as much as possible. You don’t need to be seeking encouragement from every person. It’s welcomed of course and a nice thing, but seeking encouragement from the entire team can shake the team. Your team needs to know you have it under control.
If you are person that has been sought out by your upper leadership for advice or encouragement that’s a fantastic thing. This shows they trust you and value you. Honor this trust and don’t break confidence. A misplaced conversation can harm them and you.
A simple word of encouragement can be the fuel to launch something. When the fuel is low or in some cases no longer there it can be tough. The truth is that people aren’t your biggest supply of encouragement, it’s God. No one can believe in you as much as God. He has an endless supply of love and encouragement. He will use people around you to lift you up. He will use you to lift others up. We must listen and be that light shining into someone’s darkest hour. When you walk through a dark tunnel or cave and begin to see a glimmer of light it’s a moment of great hope. You know at that moment it’s going to be alright. You can be the glimmer of light in someone’s life. As a leader you do this everyday for people. As a follower you must remember that those who lead need light too. They give more than the receive in most cases. Be the light they need.