[February 09, 2014] Most people in leadership positions will tell you that staying in good physical shape has some obvious benefits other than health: clarity of thinking, stamina, and will power. Furthermore, it demonstrates the leader’s discipline and ability to balance many aspects of one’s life. This is all true, of course.
I propose that staying physically fit is good for leaders because it also acts as an outwardly and visual symbol of leader strength. Both the positive benefits of physical fitness and the symbolic nature of it, is what creates value for the leader, followers, and stakeholders.
Leaders must, of course, demonstrate strength of character – that is the subject matter of this blog. Yet physical strength reinforces that perception significantly. Physical fitness for leaders does not mean we are a Fabio Lanzoni or a Arnold Schwartzenegger, but fitness should show regardless of our age.
Physical fitness has added value to leaders. Yet it certainly is not a requirement to possess a muscled physique. It means proper diet, rest, stress reduction, good health habits (no smoking, no heavy alcohol drinking, wearing seat belts), and the like.
The leader is “leading by example.” Such outward signs of simple physical fitness will translate into many positive side benefits.