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5 observations about the emotional needs of business leaders

Every day, I’m in conversations with some of the region’s best business leaders, and something I’ve noticed – because they often kindly trust me with their vulnerabilities – is that when you become a business owner, there is a shift in your emotional needs and how they are (or aren’t) met.

It’s a topic I’ve not seen be covered much, but it is such an interesting one.

Here are my thoughts:

1. You no longer receive compliments

Firstly, and most prominently, is that you simply aren’t complimented on your good work anymore. Your company might be facing a huge uphill challenge, and your sheer brilliance/dedication/innovation pulls the business through and secures its future, but you don’t have a boss to pat you on the back and say, ‘good job!’.

Nine times out of ten, your team assumes that you know you’ve done a good job – or it might not even cross their mind at all. They might just completely take it for granted.

That can be a difficult thing to wrap your head around. It’s not about having your ego stroked, it’s simply an innate physiological need to feel respected and accepted.

2. You get very little sympathy

As well as receiving fewer compliments, business leaders also get less sympathy. CEOs on salaries of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year are less likely to gain sympathy about feeling stressed than someone earning an average salary.

You are expected to ‘suck it up’. Of course, stress comes with the territory and there is a certain level of pressure that leaders are expected to deal with, but it’s important to know the difference between an acceptable level of stress and burn out.

3. You might become paranoid about what others think

In life, you’re told “Don’t care what others think”. That’s all well and good, but I’ve noticed that as people start to become successful, they do start worry that others might think ‘Who does he/she think they are?’.

Once upon a time, you might have craved a supercar, but now you can afford one, you don’t even want one, for fear of what others will think.

In some cases, this sense of heightened self-awareness is not a bad thing, though. Because now you’re the face of a business, you represent it everywhere you go.

Your reputation is just as important as your business’, so if you’re someone who gets road rage, you might want to think twice about cursing someone on the roads – they could be your next big client!

4. Your mood affects your team

If you’re in a stressful position, you need to learn how to control your emotions – or irritability – in front of your team. Your bad mood can create a frosty atmosphere for others, and it’s no good for the overall happiness of the workplace.

If you’re having a tough day, that can be difficult to hide. As you grow, you might need a space to escape – such as a private office – so you can have some solitude for those low moments!

5. Your attention is in-demand

In life, there are two types of people – radiators and drains.

Radiators beam warmth, kindness, love, happiness, and enthusiasm. They smile when you walk into a room, are genuinely interested in others, and make you feel good about yourself. Radiators bring out the very best in people.

Drains tend to have a more pessimistic outlook on life, and they zap your energy levels with their constant need for reassurance and leave you feeling totally diminished.

Business leaders tend to be radiators. But you need to be careful about your own energy levels, because when you have lots of people needing your time, attention and *compliments*, your own energy can run low. You need to find something that fills your cup back up.

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