Leadership means loneliness in some ways. With every step in leadership we make comes the inevitable increase in loneliness. The higher we climb in leadership, the more responsibilities we get, the lonelier we become.
We can’t share everything we experience in our youth ministry with our team because some of it isn’t beneficial to them. We can’t be completely open about what we encounter or wrestle with toward parents or church members because there’s a confidentiality issue.
We can’t ask just anyone for advice about our struggle with the senior pastor, because we don’t want to talk behind his back.
And yet at the end of the day, we’re the ones who have to make the decisions. The buck stops with us.
No one said it better than William Shakespeare in King Henry IV, Part II:
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
Being a leader means dealing with loneliness. So how do you do this? How do you find a way to unload and share without damaging others? Here are nine healthy ways to deal with the loneliness of leadership:
1. Have the courage to stand alone sometimes
Being a leader means accepting the loneliness that comes with it up to a certain point. If you are convinced you’re doing the right thing and God has confirmed this, then take a stand and be willing to stand alone.
2. Don’t confide in the wrong people
It’s tempting to confide in people when something bad has happened, like a fall-out with another leader. But ultimately, you will always regret sharing with the wrong people. Don’t burden youth, other leaders, volunteers, parents or even your senior pastor with issues they don’t need to know. If they’re not part of the problem or the solution, keep them out of it.
3. Find a balance with your spouse
If you are married, your spouse may be the most logical person to share your struggles with. Be careful to find a balance here though. When our church was going through a rough time, my daily rants about what was happening had a huge impact on my husband and negatively affected his view of people and of my job. I’ve had to learn to find a better balance in this and share less of the struggles and more of the joys.