by Matt Alderton | August 19, 2019
A promotion is a good thing. There is at least one drawback, however: Along with more money, more responsibility and a better title, it often comes with increased isolation.

"Here's something that not many people talk about when they discuss leadership: The higher you go, the fewer friends you have at work," author Ximena Hartsock writes in an article for Fast Company. "Fair? Maybe not. But the effects are real: These changes can affect our sense of belonging, well-being and emotional security in the workplace. And science tells us that loneliness isn't just a state of mind; it can also be hazardous to your health."

Which is to say: If you're promoted to a position of leadership, it's important to stay connected to your former peers -- even if they're now your employees.

This is inherently difficult. "You used to be able to pal around with the team, but now you find them changing the conversation when you join them at lunch," Hartsock says. "You used to share your opinions of colleagues, but now you find it's best to defer judgment. By withholding your opinion, you become unknowable to your team. They may have already started to exclude you the minute your promotion came in."

To combat this, look for new ways to connect.

"Lean into what you still have in common with your team: be it a love of breakfast foods, a favorite sport or pastime, or something else," Hartsock advises. "Lead by example to let them know that it's okay to goof off sometimes in front of you, and welcome them to treat you as a human who just happens to be a boss."

And most importantly, nurture new connections so you're not handicapped by the sensation of missing old ones. "Combat the inevitable loneliness of leading a team by finding ways to keep connecting with them, while also building outside support networks," Hartsock concludes. "It's key that you nurture a strong identity outside of the workplace as you rise through the ranks. Remember your passions, your hobbies and your community outside of your 9-to-5, and connect to them. You'll be a better leader because of it."

More Tips:

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Contact Successful Meetings with your "How To" ideas.