CO - HR Innovation

How would you end Executive Loneliness?

How would you end Executive Loneliness?

How would you end Executive Loneliness?

What is the hardest part about being a leader?

Although, as a leader you get to shape a company with your vision and receive recognition for your accomplishments...

…It can also be incredibly lonely.

In the absence of a support system, burnout becomes a real threat. Men in particular tend to let their personal relationships with friends and family take a back seat to their professional ambitions.

Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that only compound the problem. You might drink to unwind at the end of a stressful day, fill up on comfort food, zone out in front of the TV or computer for hours, use pills to relax, or relieve stress by lashing out at other people. However, there are many healthier ways to cope with stress and its symptoms.

Despite how dangerous the loneliness of command can be, it’s a problem that is rarely addressed upfront. Instead, many leaders make every effort to keep up a hero facade which just compounds the pressure.

My recent sharing session with the members of Primetime Business and Professional Women’s Association about mental wellness and ending executive loneliness garnered many insights into how one can overcome the stresses of life and maintain healthy mental health. 

Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to dealing with it. Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems. Stress management involves changing the stressful situation when you can, changing your reaction when you can, taking care of yourself, and taking out time to rest your mind and body. You can also better cope with the symptoms of stress by strengthening your physical health.

1)   Set aside relaxation time. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response.

2)   Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a vital role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Aerobic exercise is proven to release the pent-up stress and tension.

3)   Eat a healthy diet. A well-nourished body is better prepared to cope with stress. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, reduce your caffeine and sugar intake, cut back on alcohol and nicotine.

4)   Get plenty of sleep. A tired body can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. Keep your cool by getting a good night’s sleep.

 

A fantastic suggestion from one of the members of Primetime Business and Professional Women’s Association was to implement a morning routine in the organization which involve these specific items:

Morning Routine:

  • Gratitude
  • Affirmations
  • Loving-kindness prayers for others in need
  • Blessings to all I will encounter in the day ahead & visualize the day going well
  • Intention for today or ask for help with something today

I am extremely grateful that my sharing has brought upon these ideas and actions. 

>

Going hand-in-hand with this, I would like to share some tips on how to prevent depression and avoid loneliness:

1.  Be a role model by sharing your own story/challenges with your colleagues and team members to encourage everyone to open up (both at work and at home).

2.  Do not be shy to ask for help if you are not feeling okay

3.  Act if something traumatic happens to you. I.e. when my work colleague Simon Greaves committed suicide in June this year, I did not lock myself in and suffer in silence, I immediately took a bold action by competing in an Ironman race to educate and raise awareness of the issue of suicide.

4.  Build your professional network. Join an organization such as a Chamber of Commerce or PrimeTime Business and Professional Women's Association or EGN. Great if the organization encourages confidential conversations and an NDA is signed so that you can discuss sensitive cases.

5.  Become and mentor and receive mentoring. Have several mentors if you get the chance.

6.  Being of service. Volunteer for a charity such as the Samaritans or SPD.

7.  Seek professional help if in doubt. There are plenty of psychologists and psychotherapy available.

8. Build your professional network. Join an organization such as a Chamber of Commerce or PrimeTime Business and Professional Women's Association or EGN. Great if the organization encourages confidential conversations and an NDA is signed.

9. Become and mentor and receive mentoring. Have several mentors if you get the chance.

10. Being of service. Volunteer for a charity such as the Samaritans or SPD.

11.  Seek professional help if in doubt. There are plenty of psychologists and psychotherapy available.

It’s lonely at the top — but it doesn’t have to be. Let people in, confide in support groups, and take time to yourself to reconnect with those most important to you. Cultivating connection should be a core leadership mission. When you act on that mission daily, you will ease your executive isolation. You will also foster a culture that reduces workplace loneliness by celebrating the importance of every employee, every contribution.

Success is a team sport!

  • Nick Jonsson
    Nick Jonsson
    MD EGN Singapore Keynote Speaker Confidential Peer Groups for Senior Executives

    As the Managing Director with EGN (Executives’ Global Network) Singapore, Nick is passionate about matching senior executives in confidential peer groups where they can help each other face challenges and identify opportunities. Having worked across Asia, Australia and Europe representing major international firms, Nick has acquired international general management, direct sales and marketing experience. He has also been entrusted to serve as the Vice-Chairman of the Nordic Chamber of Commerce in Ho Chi Minh City and the Vice Chairman of the Direct Selling Committee Vietnam further demonstrates my ability to add value on a global scale. He is highly self-motivated, I enjoy participating in marathons and IRONMAN events. I also thrive on the adrenaline of speaking at conferences, seminars, and events and have appeared on television multiple times. He holds a Bachelor of Communication degree (MKTG & ADV) and a Masters in Public Relations and graduated top of my class.

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