Hazards of Leadership – Isolation
The pastor who mentored me warned: “You will never be more loved and more lonely, simultaneously, than as a pastor.” Those words have rung true through the years as I’ve experienced the difficulty of building quality relationships while serving in the lead position. It is one thing to have spectators and another to have genuine friends. The lion at the zoo is admired all day long and sleeps at night having had no meaningful interaction. David, King of Israel, once said, “They repay me evil for good, making me desolate.” Psalm 35:12 (HCSB)
Sometimes I am responsible for my isolation. I get tired, injured, questioned and disrespected. I begin to remove myself and seek isolation from the burden of being a leader. I am not talking about getting needed rest, solitude and down time. I am reflecting on the moments when I buffer myself from any meaningful interaction. There are times when I create my own loneliness.
Sometimes isolation is the product of leadership. People find it difficult to have friendship with someone who leads them. Others will pursue a leader hoping to get the inside scoop or an inside track to influence a decision. Some see the possibility of conflict and they are uncomfortable being so close to the center of attention. No one really likes being on the front lines, but good leaders almost always are. How many times did I think there was a real friend in my life only to see them evaporate as a relational mirage?
The hazard of isolation is toxic. We are not designed to live without any significant relationships. We need encouragement and accountability. We need quality relationships. If I am aware of the hazard, though, I can successfully navigate through the danger.
How does a leader deal with this hazard? Here are a few ways:
- Build open, honest and intentional relationships with trusted peers.
- Let family share in your leadership. They strengthen, protect and guide you.
- Have friendships outside of the leadership venue and don’t discuss business.
- Take breaks to get some space and try not to take the troubles along.
- We have all heard it before…physical wellness and health. Eat right, exercise, sleep and get medical check ups.
- Being a leader is a great honor and worth the effort to nurture the leader’s relationships.
Originally published on James Clark’s LinkedIn.
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