It’s Lonely (and Scary) at the Top


Being a leader has always been a difficult role. The very nature of leadership demands that you guide others along a path that is often uncharted, risky, and rife with unseen pitfalls. In today’s business climate, leaders are faced with even more uncertainty and change.

Stacy Philpot, a senior partner at Pivot, a leadership consultancy, noted that:

“Most companies now struggle to deal with technological innovations that are putting the foundation of their industries at risk. Technology, media, and retail are only the beginning. The reality is that the shelf life of any business model is shorter than ever before… Disruption, change, and uncertainty demand strong emotional connections between leaders and followers. Yet today the very base upon which leadership is built – trust and authority – is eroding.”

This means that leaders now have to cope with faster turnaround times for their businesses, while trying to motivate a workforce that has been beaten up and knocked around for the past few years. So, how do you incentivize your people to do more with less when they’ve been tasked with doing that for such a long time?

Philpot says it starts with the three A’s:

  • Agility – being able to lead nimbly and with purpose in the face of uncertainty
  • Agency – making choices and acting upon them with decisiveness
  • Authenticity – leading with the conviction that you are operating from your own core values.

For those who choose to lead others up the mountain it comes down to this – You have to lead by example, make the hard decisions, and be willing to stand behind whatever steps you take to move the team forward.

The steps to reaching the top haven’t really changed, but the time you have to do it in sure has.