Are You An Isolated Leader?


It’s not for me to say if you are an isolated leader or not. So I will. You are.

And if you think you’re not, you’re probably more isolated that you think.

If you’re like the thousands of chief executives and company owners I’ve spoken with over the years you’re not completely isolated . . . but you’re not completely plugged in and connected . . . either.

It’s a matter of degree. And that’s what makes it so downright difficult - to determine just precisely how out of touch you really are.

“Not me,” you think, “I have trusted advisors and I pay them well to keep me informed,” I’m sure you do. That’s part of the problem. You pay them. They’re not neutral.

Most of those we rely on for perspective want something from us. A salary. Consulting fee. A business referral. Job security. All have a bias attached.

Understanding the degree of our isolation begins with an honest and non-critical look at the biases around us and the biases within us.

Biased thinking clouds thinking. Like ink clouds water. The more biases, the greater their intensity - the inkier the waters of our mind get.

Clouded thinking affects judgment. Our judgments affect our decisions. And our decisions impact our outcomes.

Successful leadership that stays successful requires balanced perspective. It takes both balance and perspective to see solutions where others don’t and problems before they occur. It takes balance and perspective to predict change, adapt to it and manage through it.

Isolation narrows the very perspective we as leaders need to give us the advantage we want - to do what we have to – better than the competition. Having narrow perspective is like running to your destination by hopping on one leg and expecting not to fall the faster you go through the obstacles you encounter along your way. Not ideal. Stable. Effective. Or smart.

One of the things that keep us most off balance is not understanding how to effectively lead without emotion but with emotional intelligence.

On the one hand we need to be objective and not subject to emotional reactions, on the other hand the more emotional intelligence we bring to our leadership the better our leadership will be, for our people, our business and ourselves.

Emotional quotient is composed of 5 dimensions across 2 facings. The first facing is intrapersonal. This reflects what goes on inside of us as we experience our day-to-day events. Dr. Izzy Justice and Target Training International define it in the following ways.

Intrapersonal emotional intelligence comprises 3 dimensions;

  1. Self-awareness, or the ability to understand your moods, emotions and drives and their effect on others.
  2. Self-regulation, or your ability to control or re-direct disruptive impulses and moods and the capacity to suspend judgment to think before acting impulsively
  3. Motivation, or the passion t work for reasons beyond money, status and recognitions and the capacity to pursue goals with intensity and consistency

The second facing is interpersonal emotional intelligence. It refers to what happens between you and others and has 2 dimensions;

  1. Empathy, or your ability to understand the emotional make up of others.
  2. Social skills or the proficiency to manage relationships and build networks.

 How Balanced Is Your Leadership?
Just How Isolated are You?

The answer lies in objectively evaluating yourself across the above 5 dimensions.

The result should reveals areas of strength and need for improvement. For a clear picture of where you stand as a leader you’ll want the feedback of those around you. Your hesitancy to get that will reveal a lot about your openness and isolation.

Find Out Your Degree Of Isolation

Here are 10 simple but tough questions you can ask of yourself and others to assess your level of emotional intelligence and, in the process gauge your degree of leadership isolation.

  1. How easy or difficult is it for you to remain composed in stressful situations?
  2. How easily or agile are you when you need to shift prioritizes with short notice?
  3. How well do you listen before responding?
  4. Do you listen to respond or to understand?
  5. Are others around you able to express themselves, their concerns and the emotions around those appropriately?
  6. What is your current level of physical health, stamina and endurance?
  7. What trusted peers do you have around you that have nothing but your best interest at heart – that you gain honest feedback from?
  8. How well do you create a culture that celebrates accomplishments, even small ones?
  9. Do what degree do you and those around you find inspiration in each other and your collective contributions?
  10. Are you a success partner with your people or are you their boss?

The more isolated we are the more blind we become to the impact our leadership has on others, on our decisions and on our own state of mind.

How isolated are you as a leader? And when you answer how well do you know that that answer is unbiased and true?

It’s not for me to say if you are an isolated leader or not. So I will. You are!

And if you think you’re not, you’re probably more isolated that you think.