The connection between fitness and leadership goes back thousands of years to when “fit to lead” literally meant that a person was physically fit enough to lead a community.
Leaders have existed since the times when man depended on hunting and gathering for food and survival, with followers looking up to their leaders’ greater strength for their protection.
Though the qualities required for a great leader have evolved and changed tremendously, fitness is always going to play an important part in becoming a complete leader.
As the saying goes, “True leaders lead from the front.” Leadership is all about setting an example so that others can understand the path that they must follow.
Therefore, it is very important for a leader to always maintain the level of awareness and discipline required to set the right example. A leader needs to act with caution and keep a cool head in times of emergency in order to make quick and careful decisions.
Now, businesses are fast-paced and the nature of leadership has also drastically changed. The demands in the boardrooms and on the job are not predictable, as the market is volatile and the office has become portable. The need for self-control and self-awareness is ever increasing.
When we say a good level of physical fitness, what do we mean exactly? Being physically fit does not mean merely following a strict diet and exercise regime; it is about eating the right way and keeping a simple but regular fitness routine.
How Does it Help?
With all this talk about the connection between fitness and leadership, you must be wondering how exactly it be of help. Discipline, strong will and self-confidence are often related to leadership attributes and not surprisingly these are the qualities that can be learned from a fitness program.
‘Work Out’ Your Way to More Discipline
Joined a fitness program but it ended up in a failure? Blame it on your level of discipline. As more and more fitness experts say, “discipline is the key to diet and exercise plan.” It is your effort that makes the change and it will also reflect in other areas of your life.
Discipline is not only the key to a successful fitness routine, but is also essential to achieve the goals that you set in your professional life. It will make you more prepared for the demanding work schedule you will face as a leader.
A Good Level of Energy Increases Productivity
A regular exercise routine has been proven to increase your energy. It boosts the level of endorphins in the body, which are responsible for improving mood and energy level. Get the daily boost of energy and the feel-good factor that you need in order to face the challenges that you come across with confidence.
Studies suggest that even moderate levels of exercise increase cognitive ability and will help you make better decisions and come up with creative business strategies.
A Lesson in Willpower and Resilience to Stress
Physical exercise is what you need when you are feeling down and need a good push to get through. It also provides you with a good lesson in willpower. If you are running on a treadmill or lifting weights, increase the power or weight bit by bit and try to push your limits. This is a great exercise to gain willpower.
Physical exercise will also help you to perform under stress and motivate you to keep going until you have achieved your goals.
Emotional Contagion and Law of Mimicry
As a leader, you are responsible for influencing your subordinates. Your level of energy and dedication will reflect upon the other employees. This phenomenon is also known as emotional contagion and studies have shown that leaders are the most contagious when it comes to their behaviour.
Also, the law of mimicry suggests that a regular team member unconsciously mimics the behaviour patterns of their leaders. If a leader is not disciplined or punctual for example, studies have shown that their subordinates tend to be also lack punctuality and discipline.
A healthy and disciplined leader inspires his team members to be healthy and be more energetic. This increases the overall productivity of the team as they are more likely to be disciplined and fall sick less often.
True to the adage mens sana in corpora sano (“healthy mind in a healthy body”), it is essential for keeping oneself motivated and disciplined by maintaining a high level of fitness.
How Does Fitness and Leadership Work for You?
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