Physical Fitness is Vital to Leadership by Shannon Cassidy

Physical Fitness is Vital to Leadership

Does physical fitness have any bearing on leadership abilities?

The phrase “fit to lead” dates back to the early 1800’s. A leader needed to be spiritually, mentally and physically fit enough to lead a community.

The same could be said today especially physically. Leadership is a taxing position that requires a certain amount of endurance, confidence and decisiveness, all of which have a direct link to the physical state of the body. True to the adage mens sana in corpora sano (“healthy mind in a healthy body”), it is essential to maintain a high level of fitness to keep motivated and disciplined.

It is important as leaders to be actively tuned into the rhythms of our body and the fluctuations of energy we might have throughout each day. Too many leaders put so much energy into leading and achieving that they forget about how important it is to maintain fitness.

Why? Here are 5 reasons physical fitness is vital to leadership:

  1. The law of mimicry. Studies have shown that regular team members unconsciously mimic the behavior patterns of their leader. If a leader is undisciplined or not punctual, their subordinates tend to follow suit. In the same way, a leader who does not make caring for her body and health a priority will have team members who will mirror this as well.
  2. Mental wellness. Exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress because it boosts your brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters called endorphins. Also, by solely focusing on your body’s motions for a period of time, you focus less on the day’s stresses, at least for a while. According to an article by the Mayo Clinic, exercise also reduces symptoms associated with anxiety and depression while improving sleeping patterns.
  3. Creativity. Being physically fit gives a leader the ability and brain space to use creative thinking to its utmost. Studies suggest that even moderate levels of exercise increase cognitive abilities and will help you make better decisions and design creative business strategies.
  4. Productivity. Just like a car that is top condition and filled with gas can go on long trips without incident, so a body that is physically fit can produce all that it is required to produce.
  5.  Confidence. Self-confidence is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows. Regular exercise boosts self-confidence through endorphins.

A great leader pays attention to health. John F. Kennedy said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”

 

Sources:

http://aboutleaders.com/fitness-and-leadership/#gs.Nax4hU0

http://therussells.crossfit.com/2014/11/03/ties-between-fitness-and-leadership-by-dr-carol-himelhoch/

http://weeklyleader.net/2010/leadership-and-physical-fitness/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2012/10/22/5-reasons-why-good-fitness-makes-for-better-entrepreneurial-leadership/#34cf11c167b5

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469

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6 Reasons Leaders Must Develop Patience by Shannon Cassidy

6 Reasons Leaders Must Develop Patience

“I wanted it yesterday.”

This is a fair statement if the deadline has actually passed. But demanding constant speed when there is no real urgency can wear down an employee. Great leaders know that having excellent skills in patience will create the best kind of team.

Why?

Patience Shows Respect

Focused listening to an employee communicates respect and therefore encourages productivity. Impatience while listening communicates that you don’t value your team members’ opinions.

Patience Increases Productivity

If you are constantly telling your team members to hurry up, it will foster either frustration or fear and you want neither on your team. To get the best results, use patience and deliberate instructions. Productivity will be twice what it was compared to when you are rushing.

Patience Allows Freedom

When you are presenting the idea of change, employees will process that at different paces. If you are impatient with their progression, you will be subtly communicating to them that they are “less than.” That is simply not true and will possibly drive your team members to quit. If they know they have freedom to accept the change at their own speeds, they will be better workers.

Patience Inspires Positivity

Patience inspires your team to have a positive attitude during difficult times. Your leadership when displaying patience will be noticed by your employees and will infect them with positivity. “If the boss seems calm and patient, I can be, too.”

Patience Exercises Good Timing

Timing is everything. If you are a leader of a team that must act on the stock market or forge ahead when the timing is right, patience is an extreme virtue. CNN’s news and the alerts that come up on our cell phones encourage us to go, go, go. But wisdom says to use patience. Slow down. Wait. And it is a thrill when the waiting pays off, especially in areas like real estate and Wall Street stocks.

Patience Grows Companies

Building a company takes time. Wise leaders know this and use patience appropriately. Some don’t and their attempts fail. In an article about patience in leadership on Inc.com Eric Holtzclawe wrote, “But as you move through your entrepreneurial journey, pay close attention to the pressure you are applying. Is it consistent, purposeful pressure like that needed to create a diamond? Or are you using the brute force of a sledgehammer?”

 

Gandhi used incredible patience in leading India to its independence.

Look at the Red Sox – from 1918 to 2004 they waited patiently through the “curse of the Bambino” and then took the World Series at last.

The Cubs fans are still using their patience!

If you want to be the best leader you can be, begin fostering the characteristic of patience. Slow down and be deliberate. Most leaders, ironically, are not patient people. The tendency is get it done and get it done now. But great leaders are patient and it reflects in their team members and productivity.

 

Sources:

http://artpetty.com/2012/12/27/leadership-caffeine-6-reasons-why-patience-is-a-leaders-best-friend/

http://nationalmortgageprofessional.com/blog/importance-patience-leadership

http://www.inc.com/eric-v-holtzclaw/leadership-power-of-patience.html

 

 

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Five Ways to Recharge Your Body and Soul

Five Ways to Recharge Your Body and Soul

It’s a common scene. You are driving home and you glance down at your phone. Only 1% power left. But you needed to make that one business call before ending your day. You are forced to wait until you get home and plug in the phone charger.

Your body and soul are very much like that phone. It’s probably easy to picture a day when you just wanted to check off one more to do off your list, but only had 1% power left.

But here’s the rub – you still tried to accomplish that task. Many of us ignore the amount of power we have in us, and force ourselves to do more when what we needed was to RECHARGE.

Here are five ways you can plug in your charger and recharge your body’s power to 100%:

  1. Take a walk with no electronics. Follow Robert Frost and take the path less traveled by. Look around you. Consider what you see. Take an extra moment and see the details of that tree. Be a kid and find pictures in the clouds that dance across the sky. Share a “thank you” for four circumstances or people. Even a short gratitude walk can recharge the soul.
  2. Slow down and breathe. Make a conscious choice to drive the speed limit and breathe slowly. Take the stairs or plot the long way to get to your destinations. During this time, if you have to go into any store, go slowly and breathe. Join the longest checkout lane and instead of looking ahead to see when it is your turn, breathe.
  3. Take a long, hot bath with Epsom salts. This isn’t just for Grandma. Epsom salts break down into magnesium and sulphate in warm water and then seep into your skin, soothing aches and providing a natural relaxation. Bath salts and crystals make your skin softer, but Epsom salts address your muscles and nerves. Stay in your bath as long as you can for maximum recharging.
  4. Plan downtime during your work day. Use a break to do a crossword puzzle or listen to a few songs from a soothing playlist. Instead of checking Facebook during your break, read a chapter of a book for the sheer enjoyment of reading. Your downtime can be maximized when you exclude electronics and include peaceful and relaxing habits during that downtime. Back at your desk, you will feel more recharged after a short break.
  5. Get ready for bed earlier and get up earlier. Turn the TV off and spend the last minutes before you sleep talking to a loved one. The importance of sleep is not new. Getting those thirty extra minutes of sleep will give your body the extra energy you need. Get up earlier and take your time getting ready for your day. Rushing in the morning steals peace and uses up extra energy. Take your time and recharge, even as you begin your day.

These simple acts of intentionally recharging your body and soul will keep you focused when stakes are high and will reduce the stress that can harm your health. Today as you plug in your phone to recharge, think about how you can do the same for your physical body as well.

 

Sources:

http://www.beyondthejob.org/take-time-to-recharge.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/opinion/09kristof.html

http://theconsciouslife.com/recharge-mind-body-soul.htm

http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/8-ways-to-recharge-your-energy-and-your-spirit

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Can Change Management Help My Company by Shannon Cassidy

Can Change Management Help My Company?

You’ve heard the buzz word before. Change management. According to Prosci Solutions, change management is defined as “the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes.”

For the past few decades, individuals have researched this relatively new skill set. Associations have formed to provide support and training.

The first State of the Change Management Industry report was published in the Consultants News in February 1995.

In 2013, The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) also included Change Management as a core competence in their Standards..

The Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) was created in 2011 and announced that in 2016 that, to enhance the profession, a new certification will be introduced: Certified Change Management Professional.

So how can change management help your company or career?

According to Prosci Solutions:

“Realizing the benefits of your strategy depends on people changing how they do their work. Change management is a structured approach to drive these individual transitions.”

If a company adapts change management, it will:

  1. Increase the likelihood projects will succeed. Projects where changing practices, techniques or attitudes are important need extra attention. Left to just “adapt” to new requirements, employees often become frustrated or discouraged. Change management gives these individuals the leadership and training they need to feel confident.
  2. Manage employee resistance to change. We are all resistant to change. Humans get comfortable in their set patterns. To upset that comfort is to experience pain. Peter Benge, an American systems scientist said, “People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.” Change management gives an employee a safe way to experience change without feeling they are “being” changed.
  3. Build change competency in the organization. In using change management, a company acquires experience in helping individuals and groups change. By first identifying those who will need to change and defining what ways they will need to change, the process is broken down into manageable tasks that build competency in change management. After using this process the first time, the “change” techniques become easier and easier.

Your company’s individuals will embrace change more quickly and effectively when they are equipped to handle change. You team will more easily embrace new strategic initiatives and they will adopt new technology quicker.

Change management is more than a buzz word. It is a tool that every company can adopt to help employees navigate the ever-changing business environment.

Sources:

http://www.prosci.com/change-management/what-is-change-management

http://www.acmpglobal.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Change_management

https://www.prosci.com/

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develop leaders, not more followers Shannon Cassidy

Develop Leaders, Not More Followers

 

Besides the celebration, what happens if you get a promotion? What if you need to leave your company for some reason or you find yourself called to a different path in life? If any of these occur, what happens to your team? A great leader is always on the lookout for people they can teach and mentor. They search not for more followers but for potential leaders who can replace them. They develop leaders, not more followers.

So how do you develop another you? Another great leader? Begin with these four methods.

Give them experiences tailored to leadership.

As a manager or leader, you have certain tasks that are not required of anyone but you. Find ways that your potential leaders can gain experience in those areas. If you make a presentation once a month, allow your mentee to try her hand at it. As you develop their leadership skills, watch for unique talents they can apply to managing. Look for skills that you didn’t use because you didn’t have that talent. Allow them to see behind the curtain and try their hand at the parts of your position that are invisible to most.

Teach them to network.

Networking events can be painful and awkward, but great leaders jump in and do the work no matter how they feel. Teach your candidates how to network by having them follow you and watch how you initiate conversations. After they’ve witnessed your techniques for a while, they will be equipped to network independently. Networking is extremely valuable no matter the job. Giving your mentee the chance to cultivate abilities and confidence in networking is vital to the future of your company. As they progress into leadership roles, they’ll already have contacts and people skills.

Allow them to fail.

E.M Forster said, “Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.”

It is highly beneficial for your leaders-in-training to fail, so you need to give them that chance. Push them to figure out problems on their own and then allow them to act on the wrong solution. Micromanaging will not teach your candidates how to stand on their own when they move into the leadership role. Of course, this doesn’t mean allowing their failures to affect the company while you just watch. But little by little, allow your leaders-in-training more responsibility.

Trust them to lead.

Just as it is difficult to watch your child leave your nest, it is a hard decision to allow your leader-in-training to leave your watchful eyes to lead independently. In order to complete the development of a leader, you must take your hands off the result. Think about it: If you teach your leader-in-training how to make smart, informed decisions, but still require that they run every idea by you before they’re allowed to make a move, how empowered will they feel?

Begin now to look around and select employees that you see have potential for leadership. If you do leave your company or your current position, you will have a succession plan in place for continued growth without you.

Leaders develop more leaders.

 

Sources:

http://guides.wsj.com/management/managing-your-people/how-to-develop-future-leaders/

http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2010-02-16/how-companies-develop-great-leadersbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/06/25/5-strategies-that-will-turn-your-employees-into-leaders/

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