From the high potential executives’ loneliness
to the “capacity to be alone “

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Title: From the high potential executives' loneliness'¨to the 'capacity to be alone '
Year: 2002
Authors: Dubouloy, M.

In past years, many articles were written about the loneliness of CEOs, entrepreneurs, and managers in general. More recently, High Potential Managers (HPM) have been the focus of a lot of publications. However very little has been told about their loneliness.
Through my experience as a professor responsible for in-company training at the ESSEC (French Business School), thanks to my responsibilities as a coach with the Executive MBA and my various interventions in companies, I have identified a diffuse malaise and a feeling of loneliness more specifically among high potential executives.
The objective of this research is to track down the psychological, organizational, and environmental elements which contribute to this feeling of loneliness, as well as the behavior of the concerned managers. I would like to demonstrate that a training such as the EMBA and more precisely a collective coaching framework could be a solution to this kind of uneasy feeling.
The concept of High Potential Managers is relatively new. In one of their reference studies, F. Bournois et S. Roussillon, defined them as « those who have been singled out by their companies as potential candidates to join the team of leaders already in place » (1998, p.13).
In the past, the career path of HPM was closely followed and managed by their companies. P. Drucker (1999) observes that nowadays, this people, must manage themselves and their own professional destiny, because companies will no longer take their career in charge. On the other hand, P. Drucker lays the stress on the fact that these people have great difficulties to identify their own skills. They are too concerned with their weaknesses and tend to overlook their strengths.
Why can’t most of these people, among the most highly graduated and the brightest ones, succeed in identifying their skills and talents ? Why, when they are aware of their skills, can’t they put them in good use for their professional strategy leading them to management positions? Why and how do all these steps cause a feeling of malaise and loneliness ?

Keywords: loneliness, High Potential Managers, psychological, organizational, and environmental elements
Language: English

Date: 6/20/2002
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Name of Event/Conference: 19th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations
Sponsoring Organization: ISPSO

Submitted by:
Elizabeth Novogratz

Corresponding author:

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