I am lonely. Open letter about Senior Management Development

My talent manager,

In the last three years I am the CEO of our company. You helped me grow into this position. I am the crown jewel of your senior management development program. You made me feel surrounded with love and attention. My skills and desires were important  to you. I felt your caring on every step I took. Workshops, coaching, training, soft skills, business skills. You helped me take on challenges and win rewards. You understood what makes me tick. You made sure I had the time to think, to wonder and to evolve.

Now, I feel lonely.

Three years ago – it was easy. I had my intuition. I was self confident. I was not arrogant. I was approachable, delegating and emphatic. The collaborating type of leader. You helped me develop skills for that. I knew every bit and byte of the company and could allow myself and others the time to think and hesitate before making a decision. I knew that when time comes I will make the right move.

Things have changed. Nothing is the same anymore. We acquired a software company because without it our products didn’t make it anymore. We developed a customer support organization in order to have a holistic customer view.  I am proud of that. You should be proud.

I lost my confidence along the way. I do not trust my instincts anymore.  There are new things I need to master everyday. I need to consult, listen and collaborate. I don’t have the time to think, to try and make mistakes. I am loosing control.

Everyone approaches me with their problems. They expect me to make decisions. I am so used to make decisions that I forgot how to stop and hesitate. I don’t know how to be vulnerable without panicking.

I am surrounded with advisers  Every employee has an opinion about what I should do. They all expect me to have all the answers, make decisions, lead and show the direction.

Everyone includes also yourself. Sorry for being blunt, but you forgot about me. You turned from being obsessed with making sure I have room to grow and develop to devoting our mutual time to getting me to approve and promote your plans.  I know that when you start talking to be about soft skills I gaze at you and make you feel that I am a tough manager. I grew an armor around me, and it feels lonely inside.

I am setting an example to my staff.  As soon as  they grow out of your talent management program I start demanding. I expect them to make decisions, to be bold, to lead and direct. They watch me, they follow me and they grow lonely.

Don’t send us to some remote location for a senior management development event that will help us grow lonely together.

Make sure I have the time. Set up a place and time for me to spend with my people wondering, communicating and exploring. Help me step out of my CEO suit. Help my people put their armors aside for one hour every couple of weeks. Teach us how to listen, how to open up and be emphatic toward each other.

Have me on your top talent list. This is the best plan you can have. I promise to thank you.

Your CEO

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