The Ivory Tower of Loneliness

The journey of running a business is seemingly a rollercoaster ride with exciting highs and crashing lows. At the helm of affairs, most leaders have felt cold and lonely in their ivory tower despite being surrounded by their people. This is because they have no one to share their triumphs and tribulations with confidence. Also, very few can relate to the big picture, see beyond the horizon or feel that excitement during the early project stages.

Since the desire to grow business is intense pressure on entrepreneurial shoulders, they rarely find people of the same wavelength who can offer support and advice in the right direction. Because loneliness is defined by the absence of meaningful connection despite regular work-related conversations, the growing disconnection and exclusion can take a toll on their mental health. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the adverse effects of loneliness and devise strategies to work things around.

As the National Director of CorporateConnections UAE, I run you through the disconnect leaders’ experience and in my next article I suggest ways to combat leadership loneliness.

Feel of helplessness

Though leaders keep their people busy, the outcomes they expect do not necessarily match their expectations. Unlike workers who are motivated by immediate benefits, leaders being visionary are foresighted and focused on the future. They’re willing to forgo today’s comfort for tomorrow’s benefits. Since leaders and followers are motivated by distinct factors, moving at the same pace seems tough. This is when a mountain-sized gap grows and leaders find themselves helplessly drifting apart.

Lack of support systems

Even though leaders strive to be transparent in communication, there’s often a lot of confidential information they can’t reveal — market threats, performance issues, legal matters and the like. Apart from withholding sensitive information, other barriers such as power dynamics, fright of revealing too much and the general pressures of scaling an organization to new heights get in the way of connecting. Due to this, leaders are less likely to have genuine feedback loops to help them grow or make important decisions.


Feeling lonely over long periods of time can impact mental well-being. Growing isolation from the crowd and mounting levels of stress can get in the way of critical decision-making. Jam-packed schedules with back-to-back meetings, the juggling of multiple priorities and escalating feelings of negativity can eventually manifest into a burnout situation.

Even though leaders are strong and confident, remember no human is infallible. It’s natural to find themselves surprised and unsure when battling loneliness. Even though you’re busy fighting fires, it’s time you recognize your basic need for connection and form a strong support base to take full charge and stay focused on results.

CorporateConnections (CC), a global premier networking forum, is where you‘ll find excellence and bonhomie on joining a chapter. It’s an instant way to access a breed of successful global leaders who are seeking valuable connections for a mutually beneficial association. A select few meet regularly to discuss strategic opportunities, learn continually, solve problems and forge strong connections. The CC Forum provides a confidential environment in which members leverage shared experiences to gain clarity and make better decisions faster. View more…