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Leadership Today - Practical Tips For Leaders

Apr 14, 2023


As human beings we face a tension between solitude and socialising. This week we explore practical ways to strike the right balance for you.



Welcome to episode 181 of the Leadership Today podcast where each week we bring research to life in your leadership. This week we explode practical ways to strike the right balance between solitude and socialising.


As human beings we face a tension between solitude and socialising. A recent study found that in older adults, while socialising is important for mental and physical well being, times of solitude are also important to help people recharge. The authors provide a helpful analogy of solitude and socialising as opposite ends of a see saw. We need both, and we need to oscillate back and forth.


Socialising helps foster a sense of belonging and connection with others, allows us to consider new perspectives, and builds relationships. In contrast, loneliness not only impacts our mental health, but also our physical health.


Solitude allows us to reflect and consolidate our experiences. This can help build our understanding of ourselves and our effectiveness. As the earlier study flagged, solitude can also allow us to recharge and refresh from the demands of socialising.


We need to be strategic in our application of both solitude and socialising. Here are some thoughts to consider:

  1. How do you spend your time now? Take a look at your calendar and gain a rough idea of your balance between solitude and socialising.
  2. Assess your current levels of satisfaction with this balance. Our needs can shift over time. What worked for us five years ago may not suit us now. Changes in our work arrangements may have also knocked our balance out. If you find yourself working more often remotely, you may also need to be more intentional about scheduling social connections.
  3. Make the first move. If you do want to increase your level of social interaction, don’t wait for others. Think about people you love catching up with and give them a call to schedule a time to reconnect.
  4. Schedule seclusion. While meeting with others often requires a calendar invite, we don’t typically apply the same approach to time alone. Put time for solitude and reflection in your calendar.


Striking a balance between solitude and socialising is important. What works for others may not work for you, and what worked a few years ago may no longer work. Take a quick audit and let me know how you go. Have a great week.




Luo, M., Pauly, T., Röcke, C., & Hülür, G. (2022). Alternating time spent on social interactions and solitude in healthy older adults. British Journal of Psychology, 113, 987– 1008.