It’s Lonely Near the Top
Peer groups provide a valuable arena where senior executives can talk more candidly about serious business topics with peers dealing with similar challenges in different companies and industries.
March 31, 2018
Doug Sabanosh

It’s Lonely Near the Top

Note: This article was written for a company offering Executive Peer Groups.  

The intensity of a senior executive’s job, coupled with the scarcity of peers to confide in, creates  potentially dangerous feelings of isolation among senior executives. Fifty percent (50%) of all senior executives report experiencing loneliness in the role, and of this group, 61% believe that the isolation  hinders their performance. 

Feeling lonely is often a big part of being a leader. A recent Senior Executive Snapshot Survey  reported, half of all senior executives feel lonely, and more than 60% believe their loneliness stifles their performance. One reason senior executives feel lonely is, they tend to be shielded  from organizational problems and information – they’re given limited and filtered insight about  their operations, employees, and customers. And while time constraints make some of this  filtering necessary, having a team of advisors that makes its own decisions about what the  leader should or shouldn’t know only intensifies the feeling of isolation. 

Another cause, the duties of being a senior executive can project an aura of superior  importance and influence within the organization, which can intimidate some and ultimately  imposes a social distance between the leader and his supporting cast. This is only exacerbated  by the fact that most senior executives are typically located on higher floors of corporate  headquarters, making them seem too busy and/or inaccessible.  

Meanwhile, friends outside the firm lack in their abilities to support leaders because often they  fail to understand the challenges of the senior executive. As a result, many senior executives  these days are looking to their peers to help solve common problems and issues through  discussions of like situations and similar occurrences.  

Peer groups for senior executives are proving to satisfy the business need senior executives  have to discuss major decisions or critical actions to make better informed decisions. At the  same time they result in important positive effects on the physical and psychological health and  well-being of these leaders. This is because senior executives are people with the same  fundamental personal and social needs as everyone else. The “need to belong” has been  systematically identified as the most powerful and universal human drive. 

Therefore, a reliable support system is crucial to senior executive achievement. By joining a  peer group, senior executives can open up and discuss their biggest issues and most pressing  business and personal concerns. Some of the benefits of peer groups for senior executives  include:  

  • Peer groups vet your discussion points and decisions the way subordinates cannot
  • Peer groups provide a safe outlet for senior executives to express their concerns
  • Peer groups give valuable insights from different industries and company types
  • Peer groups allow you to tap your experience to give back
  • Peer groups breathe new life into senior executives – bringing new enthusiasm and fervour for cutting-edge ideas and valuable insights

Senior executive peer groups are on the rise. And why not? Peer groups provide a valuable  arena where senior executives can talk more candidly about serious business topics with peers  dealing with similar challenges in different companies and industries. More and more, sharing  with peers, who have similar challenges, worries and fears has proven to help relieve the sense  of isolation, and that’s good for business. 

For more Executive Leadership information, see:

The ROI of an Executive Peer Group

How a Peer Group Makes You a Better Leader