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CEO loneliness as a leader -The psychological costs of being a CEO or business owner

How are you coping at the moment as a CEO, CTO or Business Leader/ Owner?

We are in a changing world, with many people deciding to take the leap and start their own businesses. Historically there has always been a theory that it is lonely at the top. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that 61% of surveyed CEO’s felt lonely and it hindered their performance. With 70% of first time CEOs citing loneliness affecting their performance.

A study by Fernet, Torrès, Austin and St-Pierre in 2016 investigated burnout in small business owners. Results showed that job stressors (human resources management, sales, finances, supplies, and administration) predict burnout through a feeling of occupational loneliness. Their results indicate that occupational loneliness in SME Owner-Managers may come from SME management problems and contribute to psychological health issues. These findings support the proposition that personal connectedness is essential for psychological health.

So how do you cope with loneliness and potential burnout? Here are some self coaching tips to prevent this happening before you even get there. If you notice this in one of your Leaders you may be able to act and intervene.

Take notice of your thoughts and feelings, then act

Are you feeling lonely? Is there something wrong and you just cannot identify the issue? It is far too easy to use time as an excuse when it comes to self care. If you are noticing feelings of disconnection with people or your surroundings: Stop, notice, act NOW. Make time, borrow time to address why this is happening. Remember how important it is that you notice and act to maintain your optimal performance and internal well being.

Speak to someone

Reconnect with a trusted advisor. Say it out loud. Use a Coach as a place for self reflection. This can sometimes be useful as someone who is qualified and completely unbiased as well as non judgemental, can help with internal resolution and a plan to move forward to a resourceful place.

Keep moving forward

Recognise that it is a sign of strength to seek out and continue with ongoing support. Keep a talented and trusted team close to you which you can continue to reach out to.

Some of the most talented and influential individuals in the world have lifelong Advisors, Coaches and other external connections to ensure they maintain optimal performance, personal well being, growth and above all happiness. It is noticing and acting which differentiates the true life long leaders from the burnouts. Make sure your personal care is your priority.

Caroline Langston is the Founder of Successful Consultants Ltd, an executive, personal and career development coaching company in Hong Kong, with her partner Patrick Bennett founding the practice in New York. She is also the Founder of a nonprofit providing free information and coaching to people who are unemployed. Caroline is dedicated to coaching people for success and happiness in their careers and lives. She is a Certified Professional Coach at International Coaching Federation standards. Certified Team Coach and is also degree qualified with further certifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming at Master Practitioner and Coach level.

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