Can Fitness Culture Help Us Become Better Leaders?

The health and fitness industry in South Africa is thriving, there’s no question about it. According to The Economist, we have the highest fitness club revenue in the world, generating a massive R12.5 billion a year. From large gym chains to competitive CrossFit clubs, South Africans are pushing their bodies to the limit – and we haven’t even mentioned the droves of Parkrun fanatics each Saturday, the rock climbers, the cyclists selling out events across the country, and those people brave enough to face extreme events like Iron Man, ultramarathons and cross-country mountain biking to get their fitness fix. Of course, it’s been well-established that physical fitness has considerable health benefits, and recent studies have shown it to even help prevent degenerative neurological conditions – but it doesn’t stop there. Fitness is also a means to accessing our full potential as effective leaders in the business world.

How Fitness Can Hone Your Effectiveness as a Leader?

So, what benefits can conquering your first marathon or joining your local soccer club have on your business leadership skills?

  • More energy: Keeping people motivated, focussed and working together takes a lot of energy. Leaders have to multi-task efficiently, manage multiple projects on the go at the same time, and form a strong bridge between teams, departments and leadership tiers – and that takes a lot out you. Physical fitness, however, has been shown to naturally increase energy levels throughout the day, giving you an essential productivity edge. Exercise also helps improve sleeping patterns, ensuring you get the rest you need to take on the new day ahead.
  • Stress management: Physical fitness helps reduce stress as well as fight symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. It does this in two ways – firstly, by causing your body to release serotonin (the feel-good hormone) and secondly, by creating a constructive outlet for frustration and stress that helps you relax, re-think challenges and develop that essential work-life balance.
  • Build confidence: Pushing your body to achieve physical goals is one of the most difficult and fulfilling tasks we can take on. Overcoming our fears of failure and learning to compete within ourselves to hit new targets needs mental as well as physical strength, which helps us to develop a disciplined and positive attitude towards challenges in the workplace.
  • Self-awareness: When it comes to physical fitness, honesty with yourself is the only policy. Each person has to learn to evaluate themselves clearly and without bias, to set goals, create training plans and address weaknesses that are individual to themselves in order to move forward. Learning to master yourself in a sport or discipline teaches leaders to apply the same honesty and proactive improvement in the workplace – and pass on these values to their teams by demonstrating the positive results.
  • Lead by example: Businesses around the world are increasingly capitalising on the fact that healthy employees are more productive, happier and more engaged in the workplace, resulting in the widespread implementation of corporate wellness programmes. Leaders who are physically fit and enjoy the challenge of hitting their wellness goals serve as an inspiration to team members by demonstrating the benefits of wellness in the workplace, by helping their team stay motivated to hit their own fitness goals, by building stronger relationships between team members, and by actively creating a workplace culture that prioritises these critical achievements.

Hone Your Leadership Muscles Through Expert-Led Personal Mastery and Emotional Intelligence Training

Developing that essential self-awareness for taking on a new challenge in the workplace, on the track or at the gym is key to your success. Our Personal Mastery & Emotional Intelligence course is designed to coach anyone in a leadership position, whether you’re a supervisor, manager or executive, to adjust your leadership style for optimal effect. This not only helps build your effectiveness as a leader but is also a foundation for creating more independent and self-managing high-performance teams.

Book your seat at our upcoming Personal Mastery & Emotional Intelligence training course scheduled for 21-22 May today.

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