It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.
“While being a CEO may come with prestige and financial benefits, a study by RHR International, a global executive talent development firm, revealed that the high-ranking position is often accompanied by isolation. Public company CEOs are particularly susceptible to such moods, with nearly half having feelings of loneliness compared with 31 percent of private company CEOs.” (“Bosses Say It Is, Indeed, Lonely At The Top” ; LiveScience.com 6/12/2012)
I’ve never been a boss.
I don’t know that I ever thought about that until writing this post, but I’ve never managed employees or had anyone report to me. I’ve never had my own office, either. When it came to the workplace, I was never in danger of being lonely. My 9-5 days were spent in open cubicles, where I could (and did) just yell across the aisle if I wanted to chat with someone.
Had I been a boss, though, especially a big-time top-of-the-food-chain type, it seems it would have only hurt my BFF dilemma.
Apparently, all those old sayings are sayings for a reason, and the whole “lonely at the top” thing holds up. The above study found that not only do CEOs feel lonely, but that loneliness can negatively affect their ability to do their job. According to Business News Daily, “50 percent of CEOs felt secluded in the position and of this group, 61 percent felt that this seclusion was a hindrance to their performance. Not surprisingly, first-time CEOs were more negatively affected by this loneliness, with 70 percent reporting that it hurt them…”
I used to dream of being a magazine Editor-in-Chief. I know that’s not the same as being a CEO, but it was as close to that role as I ever wished for. It’s a rough gig, though. All that power doesn’t earn you any friends. I hate to think that people have to choose between career success and social success, and that’s probably why I’d be that annoying boss who met you at the water cooler in the morning and was all “So, how good is the new Bieber song?” (Hint: This is the exact wrong way to earn the friendship of your employees. Unless you work at Tiger Beat. Which would make you awesome.)
Any bosses out there? Have you found that it gets lonelier as you climb the career ladder?