“All the lonely people where do they all come from?” Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” 1966


Are you feeling lonely in a crowd or when you are around others? How can that be? Join me in recollecting the loneliest you have ever been as an adult?


I was on a military deployment, living in a crowded military tent/trailer city going through an incredible challenge. Not only was I lonely but, I could not get away from anyone. Sound strange? It shouldn’t, there are a lot of lonely people in New York City.


What was the impact on you?


If it was anything like mine, it was draining. Being lonely sapped my energy. Did anyone know? I don’t think so. Why, because just like you, I covered it up. I put on a face, façade, mask or whatever you want to call it and pushed it away. I worked long hours, worked out, and went running.


Like most folks I hid it and didn’t talk about it. I powered my way through it until I came out at the other end. Was that the best way to handle it. In retrospect – absolutely not.


What was the cause of the loneliness?  That may be the essential question. What was the cause of your loneliness?


For me it was not physical, but emotional isolation that I believe was the cause. I reasoned no one understood or could understand what I was going through. As a leader, I was completely reluctant to admit or share what I was experiencing. I did not have someone I trusted enough to share my thoughts.


Any parallels with your experience?


There is a very high probability, if you are a leader, you or some of those you lead are currently experiencing loneliness – caused by emotional isolation. Indicators range widely from none at all to being less or even more productive.


What to do? Ask and Listen – to yourself and those you lead.


Reach out and have one-on-one sessions. Do you know how the current situation has truly affected those you lead? Have you listened to and understand the challenges of each direct report? Do they trust you enough to say something?


For yourself – Are you taking care of yourself? Do you have someone you trust enough to talk to?


Leadership is a bond of trust. Reach out, connect, and understand what you and your team members need. No one should be lonely in this connected world.