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Lonely at the top? No way!

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Hiring,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers

It doesn’t have to be lonely at the top, says leadership guru John C. Maxwell.

Sure, you might be lonely there. So are people all along the organizational chart. Loneliness comes from personality, not position.

To illustrate, here’s a story:

In his first job hiring staff, Maxwell began pouring his knowledge and training into a promising new employee. He and the staffer did everything together, which developed into a natural mentoring relationship.

Then one day, the young man divulged sensitive information he was supposed to hold in confidence. Maxwell felt betrayed as a boss, but the episode also hurt him personally. From then on, he tried to follow the advice of more experienced leaders: “Don’t get too close to your people.”

That lasted about six months. While it was true that if he kept people at arm’s length, nobody could hurt him, it also meant that no one could help him.

Maxwell’s take: You need to bring people along with you. The phrase “It’s lonely at the top,” he says, “was never made by a great leader. If you are leading others and you’re lonely, then you’re not doing it right. What kind of leader would leave everyone behind and take the journey alone? A selfish one. Taking people to the top is what good leaders do.”

Bottom line: The difference between a boss and a leader, Maxwell says, is that a boss says, “Go.” A leader says, “Let’s go.”

—Adapted from Leadership Gold, John C. Maxwell, Thomas Nelson Inc.

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