Giselle-Borg-Olivier

Whilst it is true that business leaders are full of meetings and to-do-lists, taking decisions that have a tangible impact on staff or on the business itself, and believing in those decisions, can often result in feelings of loneliness. Here, Zaar Manager Giselle Borg Olivier shares her thoughts with MaltaCEOs.mt about how the old adage, ‘it can get lonely at the top’ certainly rings true.

“There is definitely a certain element of loneliness whether you’re an entrepreneur, or even in a leadership role,” Ms Borg Olivier says, adding that “this may sound conflicting because an entrepreneur often starts out solo and therefore has no team, however leading a team is no easier.”

“There is truth to the saying ‘it’s lonely at the top’ because you sometimes have to take decisions that don’t make you popular but that are necessary,” she adds.

The Zaar Manager suggests that business leaders should remember that “the important thing is to believe in your decisions, while also being open to other points of view. However, it’s important that your convictions aren’t swayed for reasons that aren’t valid.”

According to Ms Borg Olivier, communication is key, and it is vital that anyone in a leadership role maintains healthy relationships with friends and takes note of personal time. “Finding ways to unwind is a good solution, whether one prefers going out or staying at home. I cherish my Friday evenings on my sofa just unwinding after a busy week.”

Working around one’s schedule is what she suggests, especially since everyone has other commitments which go over and above work. “In my case, it’s really important that I’m flexible with my time because of several personal commitments, so I’m very vigilant with my calendar to try and fit everything in,” she says. “This also helps to make sure that I’m not always stuck working at my laptop,” she adds.

When suffering from a sense of loneliness, the important thing is to surround oneself by the right kind of people. Ms Borg Olivier recommends finding “a mentor or friend whom they bounce ideas off from – that second opinion can be very fruitful.”

Speaking of her own experience, the Zaar Manager says that she does remember long nights or early mornings of working alone in her kitchen when she was just starting out. “However, for the most part, I try to align my personal life and my work life to ensure that one doesn’t overpower the other,” she states.

Having someone to point things out when going overboard also helps. In the case of Ms Borg Olivier, this is her son who will typically let her know “exactly how he feels without sugar coating it,” and sometimes we all need this kind of reality check.

“I think it’s important to keep in mind that there are certain roles in life where you are replaceable and others where you’re not – so pay attention to those where you’ve got the lead role,” Ms Borg Olivier concludes.

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