The Loneliest Job in the World?
“Being prime minister is a lonely job… you cannot lead from the crowd.”
Leading a firm in a turbulent and threatening market requires a certain type of person – someone who is comfortable in their own skin and prepared to make fair, objective and sometimes very difficult decisions. It is also a role that is characterised in many firms by loneliness. Not in the sense of an absence of friends or the manifestation of a social inadequacy but rather a necessary detachment from the body of the partnership in order to discharge one’s duties.
In working with this group of hardy souls, I find myself as much a mentor as an advisor. Indeed for some this is my primary role as they seek to bring an external perspective into the increasingly introspective set of challenges with which they deal every day. Whilst it is easy to talk about the need to “stand in the shoes of the client” and to “look to the horizon rather than the next set of performance results”, the reality is not so easy. The great leader is distinguished by an ability to flip-flop between apparently contradictory demands and to make today the decisions that will define the future of the firm whilst ensuring that it remains in business in order to realise this potential.