5 Ways to Ignite Your Summer Leadership Fitness

If you’re like me, you think more about getting fit when the days start to require less clothes. What if you also used summertime as a time to pay a bit more attention to your leadership fitness? Similar strategies apply. In fact, they work all year round (I put that in for my many Aussie subscribers in the midst of Winter).

5 Ways To Ignite Your Leadership Fitness

Go Anaerobic

The best way to learn is to get your heart rate going. Bigger challenges require extra effort. If your job’s starting to feel a bit like a Sunday stroll, it’s time to pick up the pace. Take on a special assignment. Dig deeper. Exhausting your mental leadership reserves is a great way to build new muscle.

Be Consistent

How many times have you seen someone go to a leadership training, come back all fired up, and then go right back to their old habits a few days later? Pick one or two leadership behaviors you want to improve, and practice them consistently every day. This could be something as simple as “I’m going to ask more strategic questions to get my team thinking.” Or, “I’m going to wait until others have had a chance to speak in meetings until I chime in.”

Endure the Heavy Lifting

I’ve never met anyone who loves push-ups. They’re low on the list of intrinsic satisfiers. But they’re damn effective. Becoming a better leader is hard work. Maybe for you that’s finally having that difficult conversation with that arrogant co-worker. Or perhaps, it’s sitting down and having that important conversation with the guy you your team that would be better served (and of service) in a different role.

Include Cross Training

The best way to expand your skills is to do something new. Consider a rotational assignment or go shadow a peer in a different department. Don’t forget to stretch.

Train in Intervals

You can’t be anaerobic all the time. Work hard on your leadership, and then give yourself opportunities to rest and reflect. When you take time to consider what’s working and what to improve, the next go will be a bit stronger.

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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

8 Comments

  1. Karin, I have been using the following approach (“go shadow a peer in a different department.”) to learn new activities from a co-worker. It has been a great way to increase my value.

    • Bruce, That’s awesome. I have always benefited from doing that. It bodes well to bulding the humble muscle in the confident humility paradigm.

  2. The dog days of summer have finally arrived in the Northeast of the U.S. and instead of getting heat exhaustion I get powered up. I love the long hours of daylight and the warmth.

    So maybe a good idea for leaders to do is get outside or at least change the scenery. I was just approached about doing a team building on the beach. Even if it is hot, it is different and begs a new outlook. It may actually give way to some innovation and deeper team relationships.

    Happy Summer Karin! Love your insightful summer metaphors!

    • Terri, Awesome. Please let me know how the summer beach teambuilder goes. I’ve seen that done well, from a play perspective, but never with much content weaved in. I’m excited for you!

  3. My one thought is to be consistent. I follow The Leadership Challenge ideaology: 1-Model the way 2-Inspire a shared vision 3-Challenge the process 4-Enable others to act 5-Encourage the heart.

    I look for ways to do one of these exemplary practices each and every day.

  4. I love the idea of mixing it up! And your workout metaphor is an excellent one. By cross training, we learn to use our skills differently or uncover new ones.

    My current “growing edge” is follow-through. I’m all over the “big picture” stuff but tend to move on quickly to other projects once the project is in motion…I need to work on paying more attention to the details of follow-through!

    • Larae, Thanks so much! It must be working, because my experience with you has always been that you are a tremendous follow-througher.

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