This boat epitomises a founder, ploughing a lonely furrow

Does a leader’s journey have to be lonely?

An insightful post on leadership by my co-founder Shweta Anand Arora gave me a lot of food for thought this morning. One line that stood out for me – ‘It doesn’t have to be a completely lonely journey’. Especially in the context of business owners and founders.

Truth is, a lot of the time, founders do follow the lonely path. Sometimes because they see or have no other choice, and at other times because it seems to be a virtue and even a reflection of their leadership. I’m saying this because I have been there and have gone through both phases.

So what’s the issue?

Problem is, the lonely furrow only LOOKS glamorous and superhero-like. It actually FEELS quite overwhelming at times. Flying solo is not always fun. Hey, even the world’s best commercial pilot has a co-pilot next to him! Why? Steering a gigantic metal tube (with hundreds of lives dependent on you) can do with a little support now and then.

My advice for founders and business owners would be to get a supporting shoulder; any form of support that works best for you. It can be anyone who you think will help. This can be in the form of formal and structured support like Coaching or mentoring or informal support from family, close friends, or support groups from within the business fraternity.

These work at three levels:
1. As a pure sounding board – to make you feel listened to, understood and supported. Three of the most understated needs for any founder.
2. To help you reflect and solve – stimulating you to find that solution from within, pulling you out of that phase of self doubt or that business low.
3. Most importantly, to make you feel like there is always someone for you.

So go ahead, find that shoulder, even if it is to unburden yourself for a nano-second here and there. Because you deserve it and your business needs it. When it doubt, ask yourself ‘Does a leader’s journey have to be lonely?’ And wait to receive the answer from within you.

What form of support works best for you?

About Srikanth Sarathy

In a career spanning over 20 years, Srikanth has worked on some of India's (and the world's) biggest brands, across India and Western Europe. He was instrumental in setting up two start-ups, a consumer engagement, and Word of Mouth company and then an Advertising Agency. He is now a Co-founder and leadership coach at The Core Questin

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