PurposeThe purpose of this study was to explore school principals' and vice-principals' perceptions of their strategies of coping with loneliness at work. The study posed two questions: (1) how do educational leaders perceive their strategies of coping with loneliness at work? (2) What are the differences in the style of coping with loneliness between school principals and vice-principals, as they perceive it?Design/methodology/approachBased on 41 semi-structured interviews with 22 school principals and 19 vice-principals three main coping strategies were found.FindingsThis study differentiated between three strategies for coping with a sense of loneliness in the workplace: (1) receiving support from within and outside of the school, (2) action-oriented coping strategy, and (3) perspective-focused coping strategy. Some of these strategies characterized school principals while others characterized vice-principals.Practical implicationsEducational leaders' familiarity with a variety of coping strategies with a sense of loneliness, appropriate to their specific difficulty should be expanded.Originality/valueThe issue of coping with loneliness has barely been explored in the context of leaders and managers. This issue is of particular importance, given the negative effects of loneliness on leaders' mental well-being and their functioning at work.

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