I have recently found many studies that despite agile teams and flat hierarchies, top managers often make important decisions alone and alone. There is also talk of isolated managers who have little contact with what is actually happening in the company. But what is it and what makes leadership really lonely?

From conversations with top managers I notice: the more powerful, i.e. the higher we are, the more lonely we become. The problem is that “power” often simply cannot be delegated in traditional organizations.

Managers feel lonely

The CEO Schnapshop Survey shows that almost 60% of the 1000 managers surveyed admit that they feel lonely. The reason is that, especially in the older generation of managers – a manager shouldn’t show any feelings. But also Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk or Steve Jobs “only” a person. You have feelings like joy, anger, fear or even loneliness. However, especially in high positions, it is teeming with so-called politics and intrigue. It’s about power and you tend to isolate yourself and make yourself inviolable.

Management means a lot of responsibility

A management position is anything but easy. There is a lot of responsibility to take on and to find the balancing act between old values and new agile teams. Often, top managers are also deliberately isolated from other managers so that they can intervene little in their own area. Silo thinking, in particular, encourages middle managers to behave in this way or to have little sympathy for their superiors.

The new generation of managers

I experience that there is a new generation of managers who are much more involved. These people score with an open character and healthy human values. Especially those managers who actively shape organizations are actively involved and are not isolated. Recent examples also show clear success.

For example, the often casually dressed and in the language very direct soccer coach Jürgen Klopp from the manager magazine for “Management with Charisma, Chutzpah[Dreistigkeit] and cleverness “( Manager Magazine 2019 ) elected Manager of the Year. This decision is in marked contrast to that of previous years and sparked a controversial discussion. Another example is ex-Daimler board member Dieter Zetsche, who got rid of the tie at Daimler and at a presentation with a T-shirt labeled ‘Do-Epic-Shit’ for a real scandal in the top management floors of German Dax Corporations.


The character of managers should be based on authenticity. Intimidated by the power or wealth of a top manager, many employees do not dare to simply report honestly to you or just come to the office. As a top manager, you should therefore always put your own character to the test. I am currently doing a study on this, which will soon be evaluated on the blog. The survey runs from May to August and can be found here.

Update: This is currently before publication in the magazine for Organizational development . I think it will be released around September.


I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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