Congratulations on that promotion! Now beware: even though your title suggests you’re getting better as a leader, psychology says you’re actually getting worse.
How can that possibly be true?
Well, as psychologist Daniel Goleman and his team discovered, the higher leaders rise up the ranks, the worse they become at connecting and communicating with others.
“Their ability to perceive and maintain personal connections tends to suffer a sort of psychic attrition,” Goleman explains in an HBR article.
As your status rises, your ability to project warmth, connect meaningfully with others, and communicate effectively plummets.
“Higher-ranking individuals consistently focus their gaze less on lower-ranking people and are more likely to interrupt or to monopolize the conversation,” Goleman says.
So where leaders perceive themselves to be on the ladder dictates—and often decreases—how much attention they pay to others!
This is a poisonous pattern for top leaders, whose very success depends on their ability to connect and engage with a range of people and ideas.
It’s no surprise then, that 81% of employees say that their leaders don’t listen well, and 82% say they don’t provide appropriate feedback.
This, of course, is bad news for organizations struggling to hang on to top talent. It’s no secret that talented people leave bad leaders — 55% of workers have considered leaving a job because of their boss.
One thing is clear: no matter where you are on the totem pole, you simply can’t afford to ignore the value of communication, connection, and warmth—all hallmarks of wise leadership.