How Embracing Solitude Can Make You a Better Leader

By Dan Maxwell, Jr

Before I start this article, I want to sound a loud disclaimer:

You see, when I refer to solitude in this piece, it is not about forced solitude or how to deal with it. This article is not about being lonely or running away from the world only because you’re too cowardly to face it head one. Rather, When I speak of solitude, I speak of it as an exercise of nurturing your state of mind to achieve interior freedom, and through that the ability to lead from a well grounded and better place.

So with that out of the way, let’s hop on to discover the many advantages of solitude ESPECIALLY for leaders.

The call to Solitude

In October 2009, a speech was delivered at the United States Military Academy by William Deresiewicz, an American professor, author, essayist, and literary critic.

Here’s how he began the speech – Leadership and Solitude

My title must seem like a contradiction. What can solitude have to do with leadership? Solitude means being alone, and leadership necessitates the presence of others—the people you’re leading. When we think about leadership in American history we are likely to think of Washington, at the head of an army, or Lincoln, at the head of a nation, or King, at the head of a movement—people with multitudes behind them, looking to them for direction. And when we think of solitude, we are apt to think of Thoreau, a man alone in the woods, keeping a journal and communing with nature in silence.”

Deresiewicz’s argue in the speech that probably the most important AND key component of leadership was one that wasn’t being given much attention at all – if any, in many leadership development programs. That component is the ability to think things through for oneself and then to have the courage and ability to argue for one’s ideas even when those ideas are not popular and/or differ from one’s superiors.

And this, my fellow leader, is where solitude comes into the equation.

As a leader, one of your primary responsibilities is to take decisions. You take those decisions usually based whatever information you have available to you at the time in which the decision is taken.

Many leadership experts will tell you that a great leader is one who takes decisions quickly. And, while I do agree that there are times when you need to take quick decisions, to be a truly great leader, I BELIEVE that after gathering the pertinent information, you have a responsibility to THINK ABOUT THE INFORMATION you have, and come up with a sound and reasonable conclusion to that matter at hand.

That quiet time you need to think is what solitude is. It is development that ability to think – creating time for quiet reflection that many leadership development programs lack. One that must be developed in order to develop true leaders.

Deresiewicz does an excellent job is showing the establishing connection between leadership and solitude. I really encourage to read the entire speech for yourself if Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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