Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Overcoming Loneliness: Three Lessons for Entrepreneurs

The loneliness manifests differently when it comes to the positive/negative entrepreneurship and leadership personas in crisis.

By Samir Sathe

Entrepreneurs are lonely. They become lonelier in crisis. Various estimates put this figure anywhere between 1/3rd and 3/5th of the entrepreneur population.

It’s nothing new that loneliness vastly elevates the chances of physical ailments and mental disorders, leading to depression. The problem becomes amplified when it comes to entrepreneurs. It becomes acute in crisis.

Tendencies in Crisis

Crisis brings to bear several tendencies. In the context of entrepreneurs, some display negative mindset of giving up, reacting, complaining, crying, stressing (in some cases even panicking), almost negotiating their way with realities, lobbying against the stimuli, demanding support from government, blaming it on everything and everyone that they see outside and in many cases, even inside their firms when they deal with the employees.

Indeed, a few entrepreneurs display positive mindset of reflecting, responding, adapting, transforming and becoming better selves and thereby unleashing rapid changes in their enterprises and enabling their employees to become their better selves.

Unfortunately, both segments of entrepreneurs are lonely. In the first case, they inflict damage and need to be rescued. In the second, they usher positive changes, cope and move on. Silently, they are lonely too, albeit in different ways.

Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Loneliness

Entrepreneurs’ pursuit of profit and scale and the drive to create something of their own is the identity they seek. The scale represents its own set of problems. One of the less talked about is loneliness.

Entrepreneurs, in their endeavour to build profitable scale, are supposed to build an institution, an organisation that is made of people employed by him/her, who look for protection, direction, and order from him/her. Should they not do it, it endangers scale. This demands the entrepreneur to play the role of leadership.

The fact is that the DNA that makes the entrepreneur, is not the same that makes the leader. The transition into leadership accentuates this difference.

Bad leaders become highly prone to loneliness as they are disliked, disrespected, scorned at and people do not want to work for them. Their loneliness is septic and has a potential to be contagion in carrying a deadly cocktail of negative emotions to the employees, finally signalling a demise of the enterprise.

Good leaders suffer from loneliness, most of which is silent and suppressed. Employees like them, respect them and rally around the purpose of the organisation willingly. However, that does not mean, that these leaders aren’t lonely. The silent suppression of their true selves occurs because they have a notion of not looking weak.

The loneliness manifests differently when it comes to the positive/negative entrepreneurship and leadership personas in crisis. The manifestation impacts the longevity of the enterprise.

Overcoming Loneliness: Three Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Three Lessons in Overcoming Loneliness

1. Be the Change
Entrepreneurs need to be the change they want to see in the world, as revered Mahatma Gandhi put it. Be inward-looking, reflect and respond to the crisis. Demanding support should not put a veil on what they need to be and do to make that change happen. The sign of positive mindset is that they become and unleash change within themselves and their employees, spending less time in crying, demanding and complaining. This will win friends, support systems and make you less lonely.

2. Be Authentic
Be yourself. Role play does not mean you have to act. Entrepreneurs, good or bad, need to be good leaders. Good leadership is about being authentic. Authenticity wins companionship. Employees do not like liars, artificial leaders, even if great at business acumen. The authentic leaders tend to feel less lonely.

3. Be Vulnerable
The established paradigms of ‘good leadership’ do not allow them to air, and share their feelings, and emotions with anyone. They are supposed to show poise, composure, emotional stability, resilience, almost algorithmic processing of information and decision-making abilities and above all, should look compassionate when it comes to dealing with subordinates especially in crisis. My strong advice for entrepreneurs is to share, talk, engage, be upfront and you will feel the difference. The nature of relationship between employees and employers ought to change. At the end of the day, do not forget that your teams are your best partners.

Source: HR World – Economic Times

More Blogs

We use necessary cookies and/or similar technologies to make this website work and to collect information when you interact with this website to improve your experience. By using This website, you acknowledge and consent to our cookie policy and privacy policy