According to the Harvard Business Review, 50% of CEOs report experiencing loneliness in their capacities as top managers in their companies. Moreover, 61% believed that such isolation hindered their performance. In China, however, it gets worse.
Mar 17, 2015 /prREACH/ -- Shanghai, CH – March 17, 2015 -- We expect business leaders to be distant, apart from the crowd. It goes with the authority. But lonely?
According to the Harvard Business Review, 50% of CEOs report experiencing loneliness in their capacities as top managers in their companies. Moreover, 61% believed that such isolation hindered their performance.
On top of being the person solely accountable for an organization’s overall performance, the CEO ethos deems it inappropriate to ask for help, especially regarding issues considered sensitive.
In China, however, it gets worse.
James Ng, an executive with Cornerstone International Group, a global executive search firm, says feelings of isolation run higher in China. Writing in the Cornerstone Blog, he cites a recent survey indicating 54% of CEOs in China feel lonely most of the time, rising to 71% among ex-patriate CEOs.
“CEOs work hard to avoid showing any sign of weakness, so they accept loneliness”, says Ng, Managing Partner of Cornerstone International Group in Shanghai. “I think the reason why the numbers are higher in China is the added pressure of leading a company in our rapidly developing economy.”
Among ex-patriate CEOs, Ng cites the issue of language and the complexity of the Chinese market. GDP of some coastal provinces can be five times higher than others. China has 65 cities having over one million inhabitants, meaning cut-and-paste customer services strategies from head office will not work.
Native business leaders have their own challenges. With only 37 years of experience as a market economy, the country is still striving to reach the level of sophistication of more mature economies. Competition is intense: almost all the world’s large companies are in China and domestic companies are now taking on – and surpassing -- the global leaders.
Ng leads Cornerstone’s C-Suites Circle, a mentoring service to assist CEOs and senior executives to achieve more in China.
“CEOs can help themselves by developing networks that extend beyond their current circles of friends, “ says Ng. “To gain access to local Chinese networks, they should invest in learning Mandarin and acquiring cultural literacy.
“However, finding or creating a support group is a difficult task and that’s where our mentoring service is a great start. CEOs expect to deal with business challenges in peer advisory networks and avoid personal and family issues and that’s how we structure our C-Circles.”
ABOUT CORNERSTONE INTERNATIONAL GROUP Cornerstone International Group is a world leading organization of retained executive search and recruiting specialists. It is a member of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), the official body representing retained executive search consulting firms worldwide. Cornerstone maintains head offices in Shanghai, China and in Atlanta, USA and has six offices in China supporting domestic and ex-pat leadership and interpreting this extraordinary country through its 63 other offices worldwide.