Margaret Thatcher said, “If you have to tell people you are great, you aren’t.”
Sports have always been a big part of life, beginning when I was a kid. My father’s way of teaching me how to swim was by throwing me in the water and telling me to fight and try every possible way to get to the surface. This approach has actually helped me overcome any potential fears I may have had, and ever since, I have used sports to get through long study nights and long working hours.
For entrepreneurs who are working hard to build startups, and their employees, exercise is crucial for keeping you in good health. According to many studies, it also improves your mood and reduces depression. The road to building a company is rocky enough; an even mood will help.
Here are 10 reasons why exercising will make you a better performer at work:
It makes you determined. If you play a sport on a regular basis, then you probably have a coach who is always pushing you and shouting at you to help you get the best out of yourself. If you don’t have one, then you probably have your own ways to keep yourself motivated. Athletes always strive to push their limits; any obstacle in front of them is just another challenge. The same thing applies at work. If you stumble upon a difficulty and have too much work to do at the office, if you can’t get any investment or if your startup idea needs some adaptation, you will learn not to give up. You will work it out, because, it’s just another challenge for you.
It reduces stress. Stress is an undesired companion, especially if you are an entrepreneur. “I do exercise in the gym before work, then I do some cardio, like taking a long walk or jogging after work,” says Lebanese entrepreneur Mark Malkoun, the co-founder of ReachFast, an application that helps iPhone users call and message their recent contacts more easily. “Entrepreneurs endure a lot of stress due to the nature of their work, and exercising can help a lot to reduce this stress and offset the harm that it’s causing to our bodies and minds.”
It makes you a better team player. Whether in the gym, in the pool or outdoors, workout buddies always encourage each other to perform better. If you’re involved in a team sport, like basketball or football, this increases your team work ethic. Team players are also a great addition to any startup. By team players, I mean those co-workers who help each other and collaborate to get a specific task done efficiently, and who work hand in hand to take their startups to a whole new level.
It makes you more accepting of failure. Team sports not only make you a better team player, but also help you accept failure. When playing against another team, one of the two teams will fail. Acknowledging that you failed is good, as it helps you reconcile with yourself. In the workplace, accepting that you failed when accomplishing a task or when launching an idea or making an important decision, will first, help you understand the mistake you made and learn from it, and second, work even harder to avoid it in the future.
It makes you more responsible. George Washington Carver who once said, “Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.” In team sports, just as at work, admitting that you broke the rules lets your colleagues, your teammates and your boss realize that you are a straightforward person who takes mistakes seriously and doesn’t cover them up. This will make them trust you more and maybe rely on you more often.
It gets your creative juices flowing. A study has shown that aerobics are more likely to boost your creativity. Exercising doesn’t train your muscles only, but also your brain. That is why sometimes when you are out of ideas and go out for a jog, you feel much better afterwards and the ideas start coming.
It replaces your morning coffee. Have you tried working out super early before coming to work? If not, try it. It fuels your body with energy and jump starts your metabolism, to get you ready for a long day at work. And if you’re bootstrapping, it’ll be a good way to cut down on your coffee expenses.
It makes you a good listener and teaches you self-discipline. Hind Hobeika, a competitive swimmer and the brain behind Instabeat, acknowledges that swimming has taught her self-discipline, “which is SUPER important as an entrepreneur”, she wrote in an email. It has also made her a good listener. “Swimming has taught me to listen to a coach and train with a team, which is the similar to listening to mentors and working with a team,” she says.
It gives you time to reflect. I personally enjoy swimming a lot, and I try to do it four times a week. During that time, I’m able to stop thinking about the outside world and focus on my technique, endurance and pace. It’s also a good time to collect my thoughts and reflect. Hobeika agrees: “Swimming is my alone time, the only time I’m not connected to anything but myself, so I’m obliged to listen to my thoughts and do a lot of reflection.”
It lets you meet potential partners or customers. Last but not least, exercising is a social activity. It allows you to meet new people or to get to know your colleagues, employees or co-founders better. “Sports give employees an opportunity to meet both colleagues and friends through a healthy medium,” said Derv Rao, co-founder of Duplays, a Dubai-based platform that connects players to sports in their local city. “Relationships are built above and beyond those formed by conducting business together.” (Disclosure: Wamda Capital has invested in Duplays).
Companies should offer sports to their employees, he says, because these companies “have demonstrated a direct impact on the bottom line through lower sick days, better employee performance at work and a healthier social life, leading to increased employee happiness and retention.”
Sometimes it is good to just throw your laptop away, get out there and enjoy a well-deserved workout. Not only will it make you feel better, it might help you come up with the next best idea. And just like kids fight their way in the pool to reach the top, entrepreneurs and employees should do the same too, but not only in the pool.
Reine is the Arabic Editor at Wamda. You can reach her at Reine[at]wamda.com, on Twitter @farhatreine or connect with her on LinkedIn.
Often times with leadership we hear the warm and fuzzies or the great success stories. There are so many great books, tools and resources at the disposal of leaders, one could theorize that leadership growth and competency should be inevitable. The challenge with that theory is it quickly becomes rendered “not always true” because of the simple fact that leadership deals with human beings. Anytime you are dealing with people things are never that simplistic.
A key understanding to leadership placement, roles and responsibilities is this: people hire people, who hire people, who hire people. Somewhere within the various hiring generations, there are people placed in roles of leadership that they are not capable of. In my tenure working as a Deputy Prison Warden, before being promoted to Warden, I worked for a leader that definitely should not have been in her role. She literally destroyed her staff and destroyed her team. Not only did she destroy them, she didn’t have the self-awareness to make the necessary adjustments.
Unfortunately the “Leadership Destroyers” were not isolated to my experience, if you live long enough and work for enough people, there is a good chance that you will work for one of these destroyers. To help identify how these leaders or managers destroy their teams, I have identified 5 ways.
5 Ways Leaders Destroy Their Teams
1. My Way Or The Highway (MWOH): Everyone has an opinion and often times people have thoughts, ideas and suggestions that can be helpful to those that are in charge. MWOH is fueled by the insecurity of the Leadership Destroyer. MWOH can create an environment of control, but not an environment of healthy success. Listen to your team, involve your team, learn from your team and embrace the reality that the collective sum is much better than the Big-Headed MWOH Leader.
2. All About The Numbers: The numbers do matter, the bottom line is important and if it doesn’t make dolla$ it doesn’t make sense. In business, ministry or non-profit work, it’s important to measure things as it’s a great barometer for success. Where numbers become a problem is when the Leadership Destroyer focuses on the numbers, bottom line and measurables so much that they forget about their team of people who are making those numbers happen. They lose sight of the “how” because they are so focused on the “what.” Number matter, but people matter more. Focus on creating a healthy team and healthy numbers will be a natural bi-product.
3. Talk But Don’t Listen: No one can get a word in or have an opinion because the Leadership Destroyer is always talking. Not only are they always talking, they never listen. If people are not heard, they will cease to say the things that matter. Shh (be quiet) Listen!
4. Change Things For The Sake Of Changing Things: Change is good and sometimes necessary to create forward momentum. The Leadership Destroyer takes this to another level by changing things just to let you know that they’re the boss. They are unwilling to receive feedback or go back to what worked, even if their change isn’t working. I heard a great thought from OSU Football Coach Mike Gundy from his press conference a couple years ago when OSU was ranked #2 and they were rolling like a well-oiled machine. Mike Gundy said, (paraphrasing) “I try to change things up a bit, just to justify my existence. My team will come to me and say I think we need to stick to XYZ and this is why. Often times what they are saying makes perfect sense and I change it back.” It’s important to survey the impact, timing and necessity of change.
5. They Just Don’t Care: The quickest way to destroy a team is to not care about the players on the team. Team members know the difference between the fake stuff and the genuine care and concern for the individual players and the collective team. Leadership Destroyers care more about their title, role, corner office and the fact that they have arrived than they do their team. One of the things that the inmates used to say when I was a Warden in regards to leadership and life is this, “It’s All About Missouri!” In other words, Missouri is the Show-Me State. I’ll close with the words of John Maxwell, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
@ScottWilliams served as a key leader and Campus Pastor for LifeChurch.tv. Under his leadership, the Northwest Oklahoma City Campus grew to a weekend attendance of over 3,500 people. Currently, he is the Chief Solutions Officer for Nxt Level Solutions, a consulting company he founded to help businesses, non-profits and individuals with both internal and external growth. Scott is speaker, strategist, consultant and a respected thought leader. He is an avid blogger at BigIsTheNewSmall.com, and leverages Social Media to make a Kingdom impact. Scott is passionate about leadership development, organizational growth and diversity. Heis the author of “Church Diversity – SundayThe MostSegregatedDay Of TheWeek.”
Prior to ministry Scott served in various leadership roles as an entrepreneur, lobbyist, professor, and leadership consultant. At the age of 25, Scott served as one of the youngest Prison Wardens in the country. Scott is consistently in demand as a communicator, strategist and consultant to help move people and organizations from where they are to where they want to be.
Scott is married to the love of his life and college sweetheart LaKendria. They live in Edmond, OK, which is an immediate suburb of Oklahoma City, OK. They have two sons Wesley (12) and Jayden (8).
I have a friend who often says, “The things we do are what we really believe. Everything else is just talk.”
You would think with all our talk about leadership there would be few ideas left to explore. But the truth is, no matter how many posts you write, books you read, or conferences you attend there will always be a separation between what you say you believe and those actions you take to support those beliefs. That’s why we keep reading, keep writing, and keep searching. We need to be reminded. We look for inspiration.
With that in mind. Here are 5 things you say you believe about leadership but haven’t yet found a way to put into practice.
#5 – Everyone is a Leader
No they’re not. Everyone has leadership potential. But not everyone will lead. Everyone has influence that will move others, but it won’t always be used with intention or for positive effect. That’s not leadership. That’s cause and effect. Potential is not enough. Not everyone wants to lead. Some dread the responsibility. Some would rather surrender their freedom to the hands of others. Genuine leaders start by taking responsibility for themselves and won’t stop until they’ve inspired others to fulfill the potential inside of them.
#4 – Character-Based Leadership is Leading from WHO You Are
Leadership isn’t about position. It’s about leading from who you are. This is a noble idea, even the right idea. But most people don’t really believe it. There’s too much risk in letting someone lead from who they are. Evil people lead from who they are. Dictators and tyrants lead from who they are. That doesn’t make them character-based leaders. More than this, there is a gravity to the positions we hold and the titles we have. People submit naturally to a uniform. In our culture, growing influence leads naturally to growing position and title. Leading from who you are is the starting place of character-based leadership. What comes next is the challenging and noble work of forging who you are into a leader worth following.
#3 – Great Leaders Have Grand Vision
Hindsight makes for great stories of grand vision. But if we take an honest look at many leadership success stories what we discover isn’t grand vision. We see wisdom meet opportunity driven by necessity. Walt Disney didn’t start by dreaming about the Magic Kingdom. Almost bankrupt, he sketched Mortimer Mouse during a train ride home. His wife suggested the name be changed to Mickey. His brother found the money to make a cartoon. Ub Iwerks redesigned Walt’s original sketch into the iconic mouse we know and love. The magic came later. Necessity drove the Disney’s into an opportunity they had the wisdom to shape into the media powerhouse we know today. Vision is important. It is the clear mental picture of what could be fueled by the conviction that it should be. But don’t let a grand vision become the apocryphal mountain that gets in the way of a good idea.
#2 – Leaders Pick Themselves.
Okay, leadership starts with picking yourself, but as the ancient proverb says, “A leader without followers is only taking walk.” You have to be picked by others. Online influence is measured by tweets and retweets, shares, clicks and visits. In the real world it’s the bottom line, positive momentum, and popular opinion. However you measure it, for leaders to lead followers must choose the leader they follow. Don’t wait to be picked, but don’t expect picking yourself will be enough. It’s a start. Everything else about leadership is the challenging and worthy goal of persuading others to support your movement, methods and mission. But don’t stop there. Building supporters, finding followers is not enough. The best leaders create other leaders. In other words, become the person someone else can someday point to and say, “They picked me.”
#1 – Leaders Can Change the World
The world is a big place. History is even bigger. The outliers whose stories we tell today will likely be forgotten in less than a generation. The company you build right now will soon be sold or under new management. That cutting edge app you’re about to release on multiple platforms will one-day be as useful as my 8-track of K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Only a narrow few will start the kind of movement that survives cultures, countries and countless ages. As a leader, you will not change the world. But you can change something. You can change someone. You can change you. You can influence those around you. Successful leadership isn’t about scale. It’s about moving from where you are to where you should be and helping others do the same.
About Chad Balthrop
Husband, father and Executive Pastor at Owasso’s First Baptist Church. As co-owner and director of Interactive Solutions he led the video production team for the largest student camp in the United States. He is the author of Everyday People: The Divine Story of God’s Relentless Affection for You. Connect with Chad via his LeadChange Profile, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or his blog.
There’s a good reason we spend so much time thinking about teams.
Every organization in every industry pursues ambitious projects, works hard to get and serve clients and customers, and tackles new markets, new ideas, and new innovation.
Competition is fierce, and it takes a great team to deliver the kind of performance that keeps organizations successful.
There are no quick answers about how to build a great team. But after years of observing many team dynamics, I have come to recognize a few elements that make up a top-performing team:
A compelling vision and meaningful purpose: Top-performing teams have a defined vision and purpose that resonate with its members and draw them in.
Clarified roles and skills: Top-performing teams clearly identify the role and expectations of each member based on their talents and skills. Research shows that collaboration improves when the roles of individuals are clearly defined and understood.
Strategy and goals: Top-performing teams need a clearly defined strategy, plan, and goals. Strategy provides a map that shows where the team is going, and planning and goals tell how they’ll get there.
Commitment and accountability: Top-performing teams need for each member to hold a personal commitment and individual accountability for their role, while still supporting one another.
Mutual trust: Top-performing teams spend time cultivating trust, investing in relationships, and collaboratively developing and refining their mission, purpose, roles, and challenges.
Challengers and collaborators: Top-performing teams need diversity in personalities and talent. They need members who don’t just settle for pleasant conversation but who respectfully challenge and ask, and members who build relationships and bring people together.
Communication and dialogue: Top-performing teams need channels of communication that are open, authentic, challenging, courageous, and real. There is no room for passive aggression and backbiting. Team members are free to speak from the heart and embrace dialogue even in disagreement.
There will never be a perfect team, because teams are, after all, made up of imperfect people.
Every team his its own strengths and frustrations, But the best teams have a vision. They communicate well and they know their goals, skills, and talents.
When teams are given the tools to truly collaborate, they can create true excellence.
Lead From Within: We are not trying to mandate perfection but to build teams whose hearts are beating to the same rhythm.
For coaching, consulting, workshops and speaking. Please feel free to contact me.
Lolly is the founder of Lead from Within, a global consultancy that has counseled heads of state, consulted to CEOs of large multinationals, and coached budding entrepreneurs.
Over 460,972 people follow Lolly’s wisdom on Twitter and subscribe to her blog; her inspirational speeches are greeted by standing ovations worldwide.
Everyone responds to good leadership! Period! It is in every aspect of your life, not just business. A mother is a leader in her home. A son may be leader of a team sport, or a daughter the leader of her debate team. A group relies on the person in charge to actually lead them to success. A true leader is highly ethical, honest and respected.
In every aspect of society there are leaders and followers. Are we born to be or become one or the other? No! Can you hone your leadership skills? Absolutely! Positively!
What things do we all admire in leaders we respect?
1. They think BIG! They don’t place an automatic ceiling in place. Instead, they look beyond the previous limits to find out how big or how much better something can be.
2. They are firmly focused on their goals.
3. They are clear. They make it known to everyone involved the final product/ goal that the team is working toward. Selling x number of widgets, or winning a football game. Know what you are aiming for.
4. People buy in. They can get compliance to their requests.
5. When goals are met, they celebrate the victory and the people. Then they set new goals or raise the bar.
People willingly follow your lead if you are honest, ethical, reliable, consistent and treat them with a modicum of respect. Rewarding someone when a job is well done is always appreciated.
A few simple rules of the road, and you can improve your own self-respect while becoming an inspiration to others. How great is that!
About Martina McGowan
Servant, MD (gynecologist), blogger, businesswoman, seminary student, mother, grandmother, sexual assault survivor’s advocate, minister, speaker, teacher, leader, writer, occasional haikuist
Leaders define what matters. Organizations grow weak and lethargic until someone creates focus and direction by explaining what’s meaningfully important. Leaders describe what’s relevant.
Things that matter capture attention.
In the absence of something meaningful,
Distraction, frustration, and office politics dominate where people don’t know what’s important.
Focus is magnetic, it establishes and clarifies direction. Everyone looks at and thinks about what matters. You ultimately go where you look. The most useful thing leaders do is point to what matters.
Don’t tell people where to focus.
Tell them what matters.
Everyone rows in different directions until someone explains what matters. Teams languish, meetings waste time, and effort grows meaningless without the guidance of something that matters.
Don’t tell people to pull together.
Give them a rallying point.
Pursue what matters.
Reject what matters less for what matters more.
Feel energized when doing what matters.
Galvanize when they see what matters.
Strive for success when they contribute to what matters.
Fight for what matters.
Fit in when aligned with what matters.
Know what’s next when what matters now is clear.
Endure when they believe in what matters. Struggle matters when you know what matters.
Feel accomplishment when achieving what matters.
Most sink inward. But, leaders press outward by reminding everyone they don’t exist for themselves.
Every organization focused
on self-preservation is doomed.
It’s normal to focus on internal matters. But, leaders connect what matters inside organizations to what matters outside.
How can leaders explain what matters?
Check out the great list of leadership M’s on the Leadership Freak Facebook Page. While you’re there, add leadership N’s for tomorrow’s post.