You probably have heard the term it’s lonely at the top. The top, in this case, refers to people who are in leadership positions like managers. It is used to reference the fact that managers have to make decisions that people won’t be happy about. For instance, suppose your manager tells your team they have to work in the coming weekend. How popular will that decision be for the team?
It’s unclear where the phrase originated. Some believe it came from the 1972 song by Randy Newman called, “Lonely at the Top.” However, it’s likely to have been coined much earlier than that. Whoever coined the phrase, there is no doubt what it means. When you are in a leadership position, you won’t have the friends you used to have.
While people may not enjoy the decisions you are left to make, they will respect them. Of course, that depends on how you present those decisions. If you are not firm in your handling of decisions, people will read this as being weak. Once that occurs, you will have a difficult time recovering from that perception. Be firm and don’t waiver.
You should get as much information as possible before making decisions. Plenty of leaders will fly off the handle with decisions. They won’t take into account that more information is needed before making the decisions. This causes the wrong decisions to be made. The people who are affected by these decisions will get angry, and you will lose credibility as their leader. Again, once that happens, you will need to work hard to gain their trust back.
When you accept a leadership role, accept the responsibility that goes along with it. People aren’t going to like every choice you make. They need to come to terms with that. You can have an open forum with them to discuss decisions that affect them. However, you are the one who has been put in charge of those decisions. Make them with confidence.
You are going to make mistakes with several decisions. When you believe you have all the necessary information, new facts may emerge to throw the original concept out of whack. There isn’t much you can do about it except finding alternative actions and decisions. Your confidence will mean much for your credibility when this occurs. However, when you exude that confidence, your team will give you the respect you deserve.