Lonely at the Top? Why Collaboration in Business is Key

  • by
Business, Leader, Collaboration, culture


Oftentimes I hear my clients say that they don’t have someone they can talk to or bounce things off within their business. 

It’s not an uncommon feeling. 

As the leader of my company, I’ve experienced loneliness over the years. As a small, family run business, it was very comfortable to communicate openly about problems, situations, and challenging people. My husband/ business partner and I understood we were the only ones we had to talk to about important decisions. 

As we grew and added more employees, we realized that there was a shift that was necessary. That created its own set of baggage and consequences.  

We came to appreciate the advantages of having the opportunity of collaboration with other like-minded individuals around us. The benefits were immeasurable.  

Collaboration Brings Better Business Solutions 

Research supports the benefits of talking over important business decisions. 

 Our best decisions are rarely made in isolation. In fact…

  • the best circle to create is a diverse one that challenges your thinking
  • there is an increased volume of quality solutions and decision options 
  • there is increased morale when including others in the process 

Being at the top in business is a responsibility that we have earned and must not take lightly. It is an opportunity to create results around us that serve everyone better. 

When we make decisions that keep us in a place of loneliness, grief, loss, or anything that resembles isolation, we will continue to take actions and make decisions that are not ideal. Poor results occur from actions fueled this way.  

Don’t Play Favorites – and Keep it Professional 

Business, Left OutSome top leaders choose a “favorite” confidant and air dirty laundry about everything and everyone. While this may feel safe in the short term, playing favorites usually backfires. It breeds gossip and low morale (not to mention a potential HR nightmare).  

Some choose to share more than what is necessary with their management team. While being fully transparent has its benefits, not everything needs to be shared with everyone at every time.  

Over-sharing of information, particularly without strategy, can disrupt morale and risk employee retention as well as hiring. 

Thoughtful communication is far more beneficial than careless communication. 

When we place someone in a collaborative position with us who is not qualified or experienced enough to be in that position, unpleasant results occur.  

They do not have the perspective we do from our position and therefore, we put them in an unfair, and heavily burdened place by doing this. They are incapable of contributing or collaborating toward any solution, yet they bear the weight of the problem far past its solution. 

How to Choose the Best Collaborator in Your Business 

In most cases, our spouses are our biggest cheerleaders and supporters.  

It’s good to have moral support, but they may not always agree with us. (if they do, is that what we really want anyway?) In most cases, they don’t know the full background information and may be unable to challenge our thinking or question our decisions.  

Business partners can make valuable collaborators. The best partnerships occur when each party brings different skillsets, mindsets and talents to the table and rounds out the leadership. 

With a business partner, you each have the same best interests in mind. Also, it’s beneficial to have other opinions and views offered and to have someone to share in the day-to-day decision making. 

Spouses and business partners fall into the cognitive bias category. When you each have the same perspectives and interests in mind, it’s easy to view everything alike. Remember, there may be other options and perspectives that you might be denying yourself. 

Standing Alone at the Top 

business, alone

There are advantages to being the sole decision maker:

  • It takes less time to be the sole decision-maker vs polling each outside individual for their contribution. 
  • The loudest or most dominant voice isn’t always the best option. 
  • Nobody knows what is right for you, your business, and the situation better than you. 
  • Polling others can be an excuse not to make decisions or problem solve at all. Analysis paralysis can ensue, keeping you spinning and not moving at all. 

One of my clients valued our time together to talk through issues and walk-through strategic decisions. Being at the top in his family run business meant that anyone else he would have chosen to talk to might be biased or concerned to preserve their position, or they may not want to make suggestions in the event they would be judged. 

Once you decide that you alone are going to take responsibility for your position, the rest will fall into place. Once you make choices such as these, you will be fueling yourself from a place that motivates your ability to truly create progress and effect positive influence and change in your business.  

Helpful tips for standing alone at the top: 

  • Join networking groups where you can create a circle of other business professionals both in and outside of your industry. 
  • Realize who your go-to supporters are. They may be friends, family, or other supporters. 
  • Small advisory boards that serve your business on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis can be great options. Selecting a diverse group with varied strengths can provide you with feedback, advice, and direction. 
  • Business coaches who offer group coaching or private one-on-one options are always a neutral and effective option to consider.  
  • Develop strategies and creative ways to collaborate once you decide this direction is your path. Create and plan with people you can trust to support you without bias before problems arise. 

Summing It All Up: 

  • Evaluate the value of having someone be your support through the challenges and day-to-day obstacles that arise. Ask yourself what will serve you, your team, and your business best?  
  • Determine what thoughts and decisions you want to make about being at the top of the leadership hierarchy. 
  • Fuel your actions with the ideal motivations it will take to create the strategies you need for success. 
  • Create those strategies, make decisions, and have a plan for yourself going forward. 
  • Assess your results and determine what is working and what is not. Not working? Think about having someone play a supportive role. 

If You Choose a Business Coach 

business coachWhen you hire a business coach, you will have someone who will: 

  • question the assumptions you make to clarify your clear decision making 
  • help you understand what is motivating your decision-making process and assist you to ensure that you are making them very deliberately 
  • see what you may not see from where you are standing  
  • walk through the details and help clarify your business goals and objectives, and define them specifically 
  • help determine how to pivot when things don’t go as planned 
  • point out alternative options and possibilities to consider as you make your decisions 

The person at the top is the best and only person who knows what is right for the company. As a coach, I can help uncover other possibilities and challenge someone to make the very best decisions. That is invaluable – and it’s something that is difficult to obtain elsewhere.  

If you’re interested in business coaching that can take you exactly where you want to be with support and clarity, visit us at Strive Coaching Studio 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.