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September 19, 2019     Daily Post

The Lonely Leader

If a leader has no followers, are they really a leader?

We see this question pop up a lot. Perhaps it’s one of the reasons we’re so often proud of – or lust after – large numbers of followers on social media.

Loneliness has a bad rap. It’s considered to be all-bad. But it serves an important role in the production of leaders and the meaningful work they inspire.

  • Mandela didn’t have any Twitter followers when he stepped into his role of leadership. His eight-by-seven concrete cell had no visitors. But his time alone invariably created margin for the development of his resolve.
  • Branson didn’t turn to legions of fans when he mourned the loss of ventures that failed. From failed vodka and soda lines to failed websites and bridal stores, he’s had more failures than most. But the time he spent on the ground bred the confidence to go for his big wins.
  • Churchill turned to scotch, not Facebook, during his attempts to keep England’s spirits up as Messerschmitts sailed over the channel. Yet he managed to inspire a nation to hold its morale up despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

That which makes loneliness bad, also makes it good: it’s a compass. It’s a call to action; to gather your thoughts, managers, or family together to connect.

Thoughts need to connect. That’s where ideas come from.

Teams need to connect. That’s what puts ideas into motion.

What makes you lonely? Go there and learn the lesson it’s trying to teach you.