I do not wish to be the one to over think this, however I see value in being present in a relationship where one can be more vulnerable. A position of authority often brings along the need for a strong image. We hear remarks like, “you must look strong”, or “people do not follow weak”. However, no matter how decisive one can be, this facade hardly insulates you from all stressors inherent in the job. A friendly relationship can help alleviate this intensity and promotes a space where one can strip from this cover of strength. It would alleviate the loneliness. CEOs, just like all others, need someone to trust. I think we would do well to humanise these positions again, and perhaps rethink our ideas about who these people are. I generally disagree with the notion that all CEOs are emotionless. Some have even suggested that the good ones are psychopaths. But I do not see this to be true. Of course I cannot exclude that some may be, but I cannot say that in my experience this label is representative of the position. But as I said, I think that most of them are detached and their position places them in an empty tier, with little relationships. And it adds insult to injury that this same tier is the place where the most complex situations are addressed. Therefore, having a friend would significantly ease the tension. Informal conversations about the work can grossly influence the CEOs life to the positive, and perhaps lead to a secondary effect of more lucid and effective decisions.
Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness. He offers parent coaching and social work sessions. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.