Admitting Vulnerability Can Help Your Startup

According to The Atlantic, there’s a big problem in tech that nobody wants to talk about: depression.

Stress, uncertainty, youth and isolation—the virtual cornerstones of today’s startup—have all been shown to increase likelihood of developing the disorder.

In tech circles, depression is “more prevalent than anyone really talks about,” Brad Feld, managing director of the venture capital firm Foundry Group, and co founder of TechStars told me.

The competitive nature of the startup industry—less than 10 percent of ventures succeed—discourages people from talking about their problems and feeds into the myth that successful founders are confident and in charge at all times.

“The notion that you can be vulnerable, the notion that you can share a weakness, those are antithetical to the great CEO archetype,” Feld says.

Perhaps founders would be more effective leaders if they would buck the culture that encourages them to keep their feelings to themselves. Being brave enough to admit when the pressures of your job are unsustainable might just be the thing that separates a CEO who builds a company that stands the test of time and one that crashes and burns.

Dent the Future is a conference series that tackles the art and discipline of visionary leadership. The next Dent The Future conference is coming up March 22-25, 2015. Register here.