Silence & Solitude

Leaders are very busy individuals. They have the responsibility and burden of delivering results through the effective management of human {and other resources}. This level of busyness pushes out the time for silence and solitude in the life of a leader. Yet without it, a leader is toying with burnout.

Silence and solitude provides a much needed opportunity for a leader to recharge his batteries, refocus his priorities and reflect on his decisions. It is easy to get sucked into the vortex of busyness as a result of the pressure to deliver results. The fact that you are busy doesn’t always mean that you are productive. The hamster running around the spin wheel in a cage is busy but only running in circles, likewise, a car spinning its wheels in the mud is busy but it is not moving forward. Silence and solitude enables you to stop spinning your wheels and consider alternative approaches to solving your problem.

I don’t know about you but I am guilty of not consistently injecting required periods of silence and solitude into my busy schedule. I have noticed that my most insightful moments are usually during these limited periods of silence and solitude.  I tend to operate best when I have a reflective time to ponder things through. My mind is able to calm down and I am able to see the woods from the forest. Silence and solitude allows you to rise above the minutiae of leadership in order to focus on the big picture.

We live in a fast paced world that demands we are on call and on the ball every waking second but sometimes it is necessary to unplug and get some me-time. A lot of leaders are active but not productive hence they are not effective leaders. This is because they fail to carve out time for silence and solitude. Me-time is not selfish; it is necessary if you are going to last as a leader. Effective leaders are not ultimately judged by how busy they were but how productive they were. This is because they create time in their busy schedule for silence and solitude.

5 Comments

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5 Responses to Silence & Solitude

  1. Osaretin

    I love this piece! it just confirms what I have been pondering about our Lord Jesus Christ, how He was able to accomplish so much in just three and a half years. I had always asked myself why He always went off to the mountains, or wilderness before and after speaking to a crowd and this piece just confirms the conclusion I came to. We do need time to reflect and recharge in order to be effective in whatever we are doing.

  2. Tamara

    This article sums up a key ingredient in being an effective leader. I think that we can only give to others what we have inside us, as such the time of solitude and silence whilst recharging our batteries inputs into us brand new ideas and as we re-think and map things out alone, our output to those we are leading is more effective. Thanks for this one. I have a question though….

    how does one get the balance right?

    • Hey Tam,

      I believe it depends on the individual and his/her leadership responsibility. You can’t spend all your time in silence and solitude because you will never get anything done then. Silence and solitude should help you reflect and plan better but you still need to go out there and implement your ideas and reflections.

      Silence and solitude should be a lifestyle so it is not just for your professional life but also your personal life. It is way to connect with God if you are spiritual and communicate with Him as you seek His counsel.

      Different leaders have different approaches towards silence and solitude. It is a matter of convenience: some do it daily either in the mornings or late at night, others do it once a week and carve out a block time for it. How much of it depends on you at the end of the day but it should not be at the detriment of other priorities like Mark Driscoll said “isolation is bad but solitude is good”.

  3. Ayo

    Very insightful and this is a practice I plan to implement more often than I do now. Will be waiting for your next post Uncle Ola and I hope you are loving Huddersfield. Tc and stay blessed.

  4. Ogechi

    Prof, this is good stuff! I am starting to feel like you can see inside my head…or maybe it’s a birds of a feather thing.

    I mean, silence and solitude have become so dear to me especially in this period of transition when the winds of change are blowing. Although it can be a bit uncomfortable to ‘come out from among them’ I see that taking this time out has made me emotionally and mentally stronger. It has also made me less independent and more dependable…if that makes sense. I feel more able to make a difference.

    Am at a point in my life where constant connection with the HOLY SPIRIT is my ultimate desire.

    As a leader, I believe incorporating these periods in our daily lives is the way forward because the wisdom and recharge I need in order to make a difference is in those daily periods of silence and solitude…communing with me, myself, and the HOLY SPIRIT.

    Question: How much is too much or too little time for silence and solitude? I mean when does it become detachment, self-isolation or worse self-quarantine?

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