Nearly 735,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack each year. The rise of heart problems has opened doors for Americans to seek out healthier lifestyles, such as better eating habits, exercise programs, and taking up stress management.
Likewise, our leaders are suffering from “heart disease.” Unhealthy habits have skyrocketed, causing a host of bad practices to prevail in the our leaders. Being a true inspirational leader is not for the faint of heart. I believe one of the main difference between true leaders and those that have the “position,” is that the true leader has heart!
Let me give you a few healthy practices for you to begin creating a healthy heart and to get you back in shape again as a leader.
1. Fast Food, Fried Food, and Fake Food
“Dunlap” disease and “dad bod,” has been my lot in life lately. LOL! Fast food, fried food, and fake food has been the contributor to my “beautiful physique” these last couple years. As I get older I become more cautious about what I eat. I’m finding out that heart disease runs in my family. You see, it is a big deal what food we put into our mouths.
What the leader ingests makes a big difference in how they lead. We find that bad leaders are bad because of what they learned from other bad leaders. Making positive “meals” each and everyday can develop us into healthy, happy, and high performing leaders.
When I say meals, what I mean is the type of information you receive and process. Here are a few poisons that will clog your leadership arteries:
- Negativity– Is definitely the single most poisonous substance. It spreads and is contagious. Negativity will drive effective leadership in the ground.
- Micro-leading- This is the same as micro-managing, but not everyone is a working manager. But leaders feel they have to control every aspect of everyone’s, every move. Micro- leading will lead your team to not being efficient and never making a decision on their own. They will wilt away and never shine their true personality and skills.
- Bullying– Many leaders fall in this death trap. They become bullies and treat their followers like dirt. Leading by fear is their M.O. Belittling and berating your crew is the death knell to any high performing team and stunts any growth that you may have gained.
These poisons are brought on by past experiences, past mentors, and personalities that aren’t willing to change. Lay down the “potato chips” and “sodas” that seek to destroy ability to be effective, but rather choose healthy alternatives to grow you, and promote you as a leader.
2. “You Are Just Not Working Out”
In more way than one! Leaders do not work out because they fail to build upon a positive foundation and develop the skills needed to be an effective leader. These individuals are faint in heart and weak because they stopped growing and learning.
This world needs strong leadership. Leaders with no morals, no motivation, and no mental strength are weak.
There’s a few exercises you can do to develop the heart of leadership:
- Resistance Training- According to sharecare.com, ” Resistance training is any exercise that causes your muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increasing muscle mass, strength and/or endurance.” As a leader we are going to face resistance and push back. Resistance can be people, even giants we face with ourselves, or any external force for that matter. Our ability to workout will determine our ability to “workout” as leaders.
- Cardio Training- This is the one I hate! Running, sweating, and that overwhelming desire to throw up! Don’t you love it? What does cardio do for you? It builds endurance. Leaders need endurance to keep them in the race. Those that lack endurance, burn out quick, get tired easily, and tend to quit prematurely. They are faint in heart and fall at the first sign of fatigue. Where’s our leaders that have no quit in them? They keep going in face of all odd. Where are they?
- Strength Training- If we want our heart to truly be in it we must add strength training to our repertoire. Strength training is lifting heavy weights in hopes that our muscles get bigger and grow stronger. Many many times as leaders we are called upon to lift heavy weights. Quite a few leaders flake out because they aren’t strong enough to carry the load. You do not become an effective leader overnight just like you do not look like Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight.
You must train and train hard. Yeah, you will have days where you don’t feel like working out. But may I encourage you to press on and develop those skills necessary to get your heart into leadership so that you will work out in the end.
3. Courage to Change
Last, of all you need courage to change. People with heart disease must change their whole lives to reverse the years of damage they have done to their hearts. Change is necessary for leaders to remain relevant and respected.
People aren’t happy with the way they look physically or happy with their health. Yet, they aren’t willing to make the changes needed to fix the problem.
I heard this a long time ago and it makes so much sense, “Keep doing the same things and you will keep getting the same results.”
“Leaders” are the same, they complain about their team, they complain about money flow, they complain pretty much about everything but themselves. What you need, is to look in the mirror, see yourself for who you are, and be willing to simply change in the areas you are lacking, that is causing you to not have your heart into it.
This was kind of a long blog, but I find it necessary that we as leaders get a checkup on ourselves and be evaluated on the health of our ability to lead. Most leader’s hearts aren’t in it and the ones that are trying don’t have the right training to be effective. May you find yourself working out and training yourself and by other leaders to find your way to the top of your respected field.
Dustin L. Carr