The Leaders Workout is a blog dedicated to sharing an integrated set of practices, wisdom and ideas to help you upgrade your Leadership Health.
Soldiers have workouts (as do Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen). They exercise their bodies, develop their minds (with their own professional reading lists) and strengthen their morals and ethics.
Athletes too have their specific workouts. Our favorite athletes have dedicated protocols for in-season and off-season exercise. And the dominant themes of sports psychology – developing skills to prepare and execute high performance have grown in popularity as part of the success literature: exhorting us have to a champion’s mind and develop our mental toughness and relentlessness … In fact, Dr. Sam Pappas (my co-creator here at TLW) explains how the ancient Greek Olympic Athletes were the first exercise hackers.
These high performers not only value workouts but include them as a necessary element of their growth and success.
But what about those who LEAD the high performers?
Why don’t leaders have their own workout?
If you are a senior leader – an executive, entrepreneur, or senior manager – working for a private or public organization – this site is for you. We integrate insights on leadership growth and personal health to help you become a more effective and impactful leader.
We will show you that leaders accomplish their mission in a holistic way: using their brains, body and spirt. Only by integrating and harnessing these three elements – body, mind and soul – can leaders grow in effectiveness and service.
1. Great and Good Leadership: Great achievement and Good morals. We believe the ideal leader strives to be Great (extra-ordinary achievement through competence and mastering change) and Good (living a virtuous life through character). It is this combination that attracts followers, inspires others and leads to the accomplishment of a worthy mission.
Here we take the best definition of leadership (from the US Army) and focus on the three main elements:
- Influence: providing inspiration and direction through a leader’s character
- Accomplishing the mission: through a leaders’ competence
- Improving the organization: through a leader’s ability to guide and direct growth through change
2. Personal Growth: Mastery, transcendence and the glorious grind. Built into our understanding of leadership is the idea of growth. We can’t grow our leadership effectiveness unless we grow ourselves. Here at TLW we focus on three components to our personal growth:
- Self-mastery. Learning new skills through recurring phases of challenge and transformation.
- Self-transcendence. Growing our minds to take in more perspectives and deal with complexity and change.
- Glorious Grind. The transformative path of power and struggle to leads to our growth.
I know some people say ‘Keep your eyes on the prize,’ but I disagree. When your eyes are stuck on the prize, you’re going to keep stumbling and crashing into things. If you really want to get ahead, you’ve got to keep your eyes focused on the path. ~ Russel Simmons
3. The Leaders Gymnasium: exercising your body, mind and spirit to reach your leadership potential. Leadership growth is really personal growth. Specifically, its growth as an integrated human being. We grow our selves in life not by thinking alone but by living, by action. It’s a unity of wisdom and action into specific practices that facilitate our growth.
That’s what we mean by the Leaders Gymnasium: The exercises and practices that we can learn, develop and strengthen, to assist us to our journey to become an integrated and effective leader.
Why gymnasium? The modern idea of a gym actually has ancient roots that sheds light on how can best grow and develop. The Ancient Greek gymnasium as an institution actually predates the Christian church and democratic government. The longevity and deep roots of the gymnasium is a great source of wisdom for us as we think about our growth and development.
…the gymnasium was central to the pursuit and attainment of an individual’s full physical, social, moral and intellectual potential know to the ancient Greeks as arete. ~ The Temple of Perfection: A History of the Gym
Here future-leaders exercised their bodies, learned philosophy, enlightened their minds and nourished their soul, all in the pursuit of reaching their highest potential and achieving excellence – arete.
We modern leaders need to emulate the same approach to our growth.