“I feel lonely at the top”

Once, I was coaching a Group Managing Director who heads an organization worth more than Rs 2000 crores. The context we were working on was him feeling really lonely at the top of the ladder.


Why do so many people feel lonely at the top? The primary reason I see is a mismatch between the management’s expectation of getting things done quickly and the actual pace at which work is executed at the ground level.

The mismatch in expectations and reality creates a gap between many layers of the organization rather than creating a cohesive energy.


Instead of feeling lonely in the top business owners need to learn how to develop a culture which will take the whole organization to the top. A  metaphorical explanation of building a culture could be, if we add a few spoonfuls of yogurt to milk, then the whole milk becomes yogurt. If we don’t introduce a desirable culture like yogurt, anyway some other bacterial culture will grow and spoil the milk.

Similar is the organizational setting, where if a good culture is not introduced by the business owner some culture will automatically grow. This may not necessarily support the organization’s health.

How does a business owner know what culture to introduce? Introducing a dialoging culture to build a collective force can foster better functioning employees. The dialoging attitude and skills help the business owner become a role model in developing flexibility in their roles and responsibilities. This can create a cascading effect and integrate  the bottom-up and top-down coordination. Developing such a culture that supports cohesive functioning can lift the organization as a whole to the top, rather than only the owner being alone in the top.

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